Yellowtail Served Three Ways at Wasabi in Ottawa
There are quite a number of different fish known as ‘Yellowtail’, but one, also known as the ‘Japanese Amberjack’, features regularly in Japanese cuisine, where it is called ‘Hamachi’. At the now defunct Wasabi Restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market, their appetizer of Yellowtail prepared three ways was beautifully plated and all three preparation styles were excellent.
The first of these preparations was the grilled ‘collar’, or neck structures, of the fish, while the second, was a sort of wrap described as a ‘Taco’, and the third, a marinated Sashimi-style presentation. All three were very well executed and if you wish to see them in more detail, read on…
The Grilled Collar – I have written (raved) elsewhere about the ‘collar’ of fish (notably The Grilled Salmon Collar at Ken’s) but this effort was the best I have ever had. I didn’t ask, but I am fairly sure this was prepared ‘Shioyaki’ or ‘Salt-grilled’ style. Even the fin was edible and it a lovely crispy texture with a taste very much like that of Indian ‘Bombay Duck’. The skin was also delightfully crispy and the flesh beneath had a sweet unctuousness that was very rich. As an appetizer, this really left me wanting and I could easily have made a whole meal of this, if more were on offer.
Yellowtail ‘Taco’ – This consisted of cooked yellowtail wrapped in a tortilla with avocado and tomato. The fish was very delicately flavored but it wasn’t overwhelmed by the other ingredients and the whole was made for a delicious combination of tastes (although it was just a little messy to eat). There was a little cilantro in it, which I don’t much like very much, but there certainly wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyment and I think the basic idea would be well worth trying at home.
Sashimi with Garlic Chip, Jalapeno and Yuzu Dressing – Actually, this was more of a ‘Ceviche’ than a Sashimi as the acidity of the Yuzu juice lightly ‘cooked’ the exterior of the fish slices, leaving the interior still raw, rather like a Tataki preparation. The dressing was actually quite mild, and complimented the fish very nicely, but I found that eating some Jalapeno and Garlic at the same time came close to overpowering the sweetness. That being said, the garlic was really very good and didn’t have the bitterness I often find with fried garlic chips. Overall, this part of the dish was also a winner.