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molto e

Sea Saw (Scottsdale) - Izakaya- Japanese tapas

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Hello, I just got back from Scottsdale and also dined at Sea Saw. It was great, and an unexpected surprise. I wish I had the room to eat more, but my husband and I had gone overboard at Sunday buffet earlier that day. In fact, we almost cancelled the reservation, but am very glad we did not. We sat at the bar, and enjoyed watching the chefs work. I can't say too much about what we had, but I loved the seared tuna with the beet puree, the octopus with tomatoes and a totally refreshing chilled edamame soup. I'd love to go back! dahlsk

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What qualities does a restaurant need to make it great: chef, service, quality ambiance, top-notch ingredients? Sea Saw in my opinion is the best restaurant that Scottsdale has to offer. Chef Nobuo Fukuda is a true talent and has been recognized on a national level by a number of publications and the past two years has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation for "Best Chef Southwest".

Food and Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs 2003

Chef Fukuda's crew is dedicated to executing his passionate vision of Sea Saw. The back of the house is led by Sous-Chef Geoff Reed and the front of the house is led by long time manager Chantelle. The new home of Sea Saw will be across the street at the South Waterfront in early 2007. When Sea Saw takes it's new home there will be a few new wrinkles; lunch service (nice!), oyster bar, cold and hot noodles, more sashimi, grilled items, and more small plates in the izakaya style. Nobuo just returned from a trip to Japan for 19 days of "food R&D" that comprised of 19 lunches and 25 dinners (don't let his size fool you). He has also been eating his way around LA and NY for inspiration. I can not wait to try the new creations that Nobuo has in store for his new home.

My recent dinner at Sea Saw was another night of the culinary magic by the hands of Chef Nobuo Fukuda and crew.

Hassun (from left to right):

McClendon's Farms red and yellow watermelon with goat cheese, mint, yuzu and goya Spanish olive oil

edamame soup with ginger creme fraiche, tonburi and gold flake

mozuku (slimy seaweed) with ginger mensuyu vinaigrette and yama imo (moutain potato)

kumamoto oyster from washington with tomato water, uni, wasabi oil and caviar

grilled shishito pepper tossed with fresh shaved katsho boshi (bonito flakes), and tosa soy

grilled octopus sucker with sea salt

sawagani crab fried with grated argentine rock salt

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Hassun

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sawagani crab

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shishito peppers & grilled octopus sucker

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oyster with uni & caviar

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mozuku with yama imo-i just like the way that sounds

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edamame soup

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watemelon and goat cheese salad

Wide array of textures and flavors from sweet to spicy, this was a great combo of tastes to start the meal.

Second Course:

fresh grilled octopus with McClendon Farms field grown early girl tomato, shallot, housemade mozzarella, Turley olive oil, yuzu juice, wasabi aioli, pick peppercorns and micro arugula

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octopus, mozzarella and tomato

This is the first time that I have had the octopus grilled in Nobuo's spin on the traditional tomato and mozzarella salad. The wasabi aioli is the crowning touch in this dish.

Third Course:

tataki of bonito or katsuo seared over an open flame (not grilled), chive, myoga. mitsuba, ginger , garlic chips and tosa soy

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tataki of bonito

Nobuo compared the taste of the bonito to the aji as they are both in the mackerel family. The spicy/ sweet flavors of the ginger, garlic and soy made for a great foil to the bonito.

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On the left is katsuobushi, which is smoked and dried bonito. When the bonito is in this form it is similiar to petrified wood and is used to shave and make flakes. The bonito on the right is the tataki.

Fifth Course:

Soft Shell Crab- panko, rice noodles, bean sprouts, Japanese cucumber, chive, mint, micro basil, soy glazed peanuts and nuoc mam

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soft shell crab

During soft shell season, I never miss the opportunity to eat this at Sea Saw. This is one of my favorite soft shell dishes of all time. The noodles dressed with the nuoc mam are delicous.

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rishiri konbu- seaweed that is dried on bamboo mats on the beach, taken inside each night and back out each morning. The seaweed on the left is of a much higher quality and price.

Sixth Course:

ayu (fresh water river fish from Japan) watermelon fish (actually smells like watermelon) grilled with a cucumber, onion, and tadesu sauce, kohaku hajikami (pickled ginger shoot)

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ayu (watermelon fish)

The sauce was a perfect compliment to the ayu.

Seventh Course:

shabu shabu of sakura masu (cherry blossom trout, "steelhead") from Japan and scallops

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trout and scallops

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sauce-ponzu, momiji (grated daikon and red chili), chives

The flesh of the trout was so delicate that after a quick bath in the broth it just melted in my mouth.

Eighth Course:

kobe ishiyaki

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sizzle sizzle on the hot rock, my little friend

Melt in your mouth- can I get another plate of that :wink:

The real good news is that wagyu from Japan is now allowed to be imported into the USA (thank you, my prayers have been answered)

Dessert:

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pineapple and mango carpaccio with five spice cookies

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shoyu (white soy) creme caramel, kasutera (soybean flour sponge cake) orange confit, sesame tuile, green tea ice cream and soy caramel sauce

Tracy Dempsey's dessert creations shine bright on the Sea Saw menu. I am a huge fan of the soy caramel.

Good Eating,

Molto E


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Looks like another amazing meal. Nice photos and description.

gallery_30892_1958_632194.jpg

Eliot can you describe what this crab is like? Is it a softshell? Ifnot, how do you get the meat?

gallery_30892_1958_935437.jpg

Is that the beef or is there something overlaying it?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Looks like another amazing meal. Nice photos and description.

gallery_30892_1958_632194.jpg

Eliot can you describe what this crab is like? Is it a softshell? Ifnot, how do you get the meat?

gallery_30892_1958_935437.jpg

Is that the beef or is there something overlaying it?

Doc,

The whole crab is edible; this more about crunch (in a good way) than meat. The plate of meat was wagyu beef and the marbling when seared on the hot rock melts away.

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Looks like another amazing meal. Nice photos and description.

gallery_30892_1958_632194.jpg

Eliot can you describe what this crab is like? Is it a softshell? Ifnot, how do you get the meat?

gallery_30892_1958_935437.jpg

Is that the beef or is there something overlaying it?

Doc,

The whole crab is edible; this more about crunch (in a good way) than meat. The plate of meat was wagyu beef and the marbling when seared on the hot rock melts away.

Molto E

Cool. The crab reminds me a little of Venetian "moleche", which are small "soft-shell" crabs, although I am not sure if they are served in a molted state or the hardshell is simply soft enough to eat. In either case, they are wonderful


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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ALL POINTS BULLETIN JAPANESE WAGYU HAS ARRIVED AT SEA SAW

Well, there is not much more to say than that...this is a development that I have been waiting, drooling, wanting, needing :wacko: , for a long time. Some mourn the end of summer, that don't live in Phoenix, but a benefit of the cooler temperatures is the availability of wild bluefin tuna. So the picture becomes clearer, Molto E has been eating regularly at Sea Saw.

Chef Nobuo Fukuda suggested a new sake that he just got in:

Masakura Junmai Ginjo-this is a kimoto style sake, Nobuo said to enjoy as you would a red wine at room temperature.

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By drinking this sake at room temperature, the flavors and nuances of the sake were appreciated.

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The Hassun contained two new items:

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uni with clam sake mushi (sake steamed), tomato water, wasabi oil

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grilled shihito peppers with yuan grilled bluefin and bonito shavings with tosa and grilled wagyu

I loved tasting the bluefin and the wagyu side by side. If I had a choice of bluefin or wagyu beef, right now I am leaning to the bluefin.

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In the foreground Chef Fukuda is slicing some wild Canadian bluefin tuna for my next course, while Sous-Chef Geoff Reed is slicing daikon sheets without looking. I have tried slicing daikon sheets and that is no easy feat, let alone without looking.

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Three types of bluefin (from back to front): maguro, kama shita (found in the front of the fish by the collar and has more sinew) and toro.

Each type of the tuna has a different texture and mouthfeel. Most people that have not eaten top quality tuna are used to eating something like the maguro, though not the quality of this specimen. The kama shita is very difficult to come by as the amount in each fish is very small and very much in demand. I enjoy the kama slightly seared but raw is luxurious as well. When I was eating the toro, I did not have to chew the pieces. Upon entering my mouth, the pieces just melted away with a dab of freshly grated wasabi and a quick dip into Nobuo's homemade soy sauce. This was the first time that toro had been available in quite some time and I found myself slowing down and savoring every mouthful.

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Okoze kon bujime, momiji oroshi, chive yuzu zest from McClendon farms yuzu

Chef said that the fish head had little bits of flesh that could be fished out and eaten if I so desired ( I so desired, fish cheek rocks).

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Shabu Shabu

The fish that were offered with this course were: tai snapper, sockeye, and clam ( the lighter colored was from the siphon and the darker was from inside the shell)

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clam getting a little bath in the broth

By cooking the fish and clam in the broth, the broth takes on a lovely flavor. The broth is then presented to the diner to be enjoyed.

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broth with grilled masatake mushroom, mitsuba stem and yuzu

The next course was bluefin and kobe ishiyaki (seared on the hot rock). I have pictured this before but just one shot of the Japanese wagyu.

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Japanese Wagyu

There were two new dessert offerings from Pastry Chef Tracy Dempsey:

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midori kanten with lemon verbena panna cotta, charentes melon and cucumber sorbet

Chef Fukuda said that this was in the style of traditional desserts in Japan. Japanese jello and American jello are two different animals, J-E-L-L-O!

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peach tartlet with basil ice cream, peach skin crisp and basil syrup

All and all another great meal at Sea Saw. Each day past is another day closer to the new Sea Saw across the street in the South Canal project and the new off-shoot Shell-Shocked.


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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When I first discovered the culinary artistry of Chef Nobuo Fukuda of Sea Saw, my meals there were based on selections off the regular menu and a selection or two from the daily special card. Then one evening, I saw some diners being served some dishes that were not on the menu and I grabbed the Omakase menu and did not find those dishes there either. Nobuo explained that those dishes are on the Special Omakase menu that must be requested in advance so that he could special order the exotic components that make up that menu. At that point, I told him from then on when I come in that is what I wanted. But he was still judging whether I was ready for all the tricks up his sleeve. During this time, I did not realize that he was testing me to see if my palate was up to the "Full-On" Special Omakase, but soon enough he graduated me ( eating there 3 out 4 days did not hurt either ). I have eaten things at Sea Saw that I would never would have dreamed that I would and I look forward to what the future holds for me there. That is why when I dine there, I have an excitement because I have no idea where Chef Fukuda and his team will take me. What I do know is that the food will be tasty, thought provoking and something that I can not get anywhere else in Phoenix. I also know that the quality of the fish at Sea Saw is on the highest level to come into the United States!

I will now report on my last two meals at Sea Saw:

Hassun:

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Edamame soup, oyster with caviar, mozuku seaweed w / yama imo ( Japanese mountain potato ), Chinese longbean with sesame sauce and marinated / fried octopus suction cups

Sashimi:

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From Back left to right: hamachi w / white truffle, gravlax, big eye tataki, wild tai, grilled tako, mirugui ( giant clam ), scallop, ceviche, wild hirame with yuzu kosho sudachi juice sea salt and yuzu zest

This course is where the depth of Chef Fukuda's skills is displayed. I would love multiple orders of this course or a full order of any of these bites.

Aoyagi Yuan: grilled surf clam with cucumber sauce and ume

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Jidori chicken egg slow poached with sauteed Chinese long bean in dried shrimp sauce with shaved white truffle

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Piercing the egg yolk to mix with the shrimp sauce with the addition of the white truffle really "gilds the lilly" on this dish.

Spanish bluefin: grilled with sweet onion sauce and kimchee baby vegetables

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This is a decadent dish with the unctous Spanish Bluefin on top of the sweet onion salsa. I could put that onion salsa on anything, it is so good.

Shabu Shabu: live spiny lobster and live scallop

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After dipping the lobster and scallop in the broth, Nobuo then made a soup with a piece of spiny lobster.

Grilled Spiny Lobster Soup: dashi from Shabu Shabu mitsuba stem and leaves, yuzu zest

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Kobe Ishiyaki

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One of my favorites...sear your own slices of kobe on the hot rock.

Foie Gras with Poached Pears

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This is actually the dessert course...nice!

Now if you have a little more room for dessert then...

Shiro Shoyu ( white caramel ) creme caramel, ginger creme brulee, yuzu tartlet, peanut truffles, jasmine and pumpkin ice creams, soy caramels, spiced sesame cookies

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I am a soy caramel addict

Meal #2...

Sashimi: hamachi with black truffle, gravlax, tataki, wild Japanese Tai, grilled tako, bluefin, aji, ceviche, okoze konbujime

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Sauteed chinese long beans, dried shrimp sauce, slow poached Jidori chicken egg, black truffle

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Delicious dish

Japanese bluefin yuan with sweet onion salsa, micro greens with yuzu viniagrette, kimchee turnip and carrot

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Kobe Shabu Shabu with sesame sauce

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Kobe and Japanese bluefin Ishiyaki

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The only thing that could possibly top this would be a third hot rock with a slab of foie gras. Great Dish

Now this is where a little surprise came in...a birthday was being celebrated in the group and HERE COMES THE CAKE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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Japanese bluefin head ( cake )

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There were various tastes and textures that could be found in the fish head...some egg white like, some bone marrow like....GREAT FUN!

Now something more traditional for dessert:

white soy creme caramel, vanilla pavlova with yuzu ice cream, macaroons, soy caramel, balsamic truffle, lemon goat cheese-cheese cake with orange marmalade

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Nobuo is a magnificent teacher as evidenced by the skill that his crew displays in full view of the dining room. His Sous-Chef Geoff Reed is someone that I consider "one to watch". Geoff had formal French Training that Nobuo has culled into his progressive Japanese style. The interesting thing is that Geoff's Father, Marty, had been teaching Geoff some Japanese ways as he grew up. Geoff's Dad manufactures some of the tools that they use at Sea Saw. He makes the sashimi plating chopsticks out of titanium that not only the Sea Saw crew uses but Shinji Kurita, Brian Lewis and some of them can be found in use at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. His stunning craftsmanship also can be seen in Japanese knives that he handcrafts out of Damascus steel. His creations are not limited to knives and chopsticks as he has made bonito shavers and some champagne flight holders that are in use at Baroque.


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Fantastic stuff as always.

Unfortunately I won't be making my annual business trip to Scottsdale this year so I'm going to have to wait a bit longer to get my next Sea Saw fix. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. My meal there last year was one of my most memorable.


-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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I can't believe that I am not going to be able to get there soon! Eliot, I don't know how, but you continue to outdo yourself. Great shots and mouth-watering descriptions. The bluefin head is something else!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Congratulations to Chef Nobuo Fukuda on winning the James Beard Award for "Best Chef" Southwest...what a great honor!!


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Congratulations to Chef Nobuo Fukuda on winning the James Beard Award for "Best Chef" Southwest...what a great honor!!

It couldn't have been awarded to a more deserving person. I'm thrilled for Chef Fukuda!! :smile:

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Our dinner reservations were at the fairly well-known Sea Saw in Scottsdale. Chef/proprietor Nobuo Fukada is something of a local legend (and is also the winner of the 2007 Best Chef-Southwest Beard Award) and as much as I'd heard and read about Sea Saw, looking back, I understand now that I didn't have a clear idea about what was in store for us. What I expected was a top-quality sushi/sashimi meal in a typical upper-tier, sushi restaurant. What I got instead was a glorious, hand-prepared Omakase, the likes of which I'd never seen before; a meal that was life-changing in many ways.

After reading a few threads here about the highly-regarded Matsumoto, I wondered whether such a style of meal would be something I would enjoy. I knew I would appreciate it but the details didn't sound particularly compelling to me, from a culinary point of view. Perhaps someday, I thought, an interested friend will ask me to join him at Matsumoto and I will oblige. Of course, not too long after I had that thought, Matsumoto morphed into Chiyo and the opportunity, at least in its purest form, was lost. Frankly, I was only a little disappointed. The landscape changes quickly in the restaurant world and this wasn't the first time I'd lost out on a specific dining opportunity. I'd live. But my curiousity persisted.

Since my friend kept referring to Nobuo's mastery over fish and seafood, I never quite put the pieces together in advance of my meal there. But once inside Sea Saw's small and intimate space, the picture started to clear for me. We sat at the counter separating us from the chefs, chatted a bit and sipped sake. Then, without even a mention of menus, Nobuo himself began to prepare our meals. With 5 empty plates in front of him, he began assembling our first course. This was not sushi -- not even close.

Hassun

On small, square black plates with matte finish, the components were carefully arranged. Like an artist creating a composition, Nobou transformed the plates, in just a few moments, from mere conveyers of food to something far more significant. The one in front of me looked like a painting and it was an exact match for the 4 other plates in front of my dining companions. It was simply remarkable. Nobuo described its contents. In the front left corner sat 2 fried, octopus suction cups -- crispy, satifyingly chewy and delicious. In the middle of the plate, facing opposite directions were 2 Japanese soup spoons. One held a small portion of briney soup made from mozuku seaweed and Japanese mountain potato. The other held a magnificent combination of fresh kumamoto oyster, topped with uni, sevruga caviar and wasabi oil. In the top, right corner of the plate was a demitasse filled with warm edamame soup, garnished with caviar, ginger-creme fraiche and gold leaf. Aside from being beautiful and provocative the plate's contents were absolutely delicious.

What followed this auspicious opener was a mind-bending progression of courses that I could have never conceptualized in my wildest dreams. I was suddenly a judge on an episode of Iron Chef, although with this meal, there was no common ingredient, aside from Nobuo's brilliance.

Sashimi

Next up was a beautifully-composed plate of 'sashimi.' This was another square plate -- a white one this time -- which had 9, immaculately-prepared pieces of protein arranged in 3 perfect rows of 3. It wasn't all sashimi, as there was a portion of seared bluefin and a portion of seared duck breast too. Fresh sea bream, scorpion fish and a few others completed the plate, which we devoured methodically, from bottom to top. It was fascinating watching Nobuo and his sous prepare these masterpieces. As Nobuo arranged the primary components, his sous moved along with him, holding a small tackle box-like contraption with about 50 small compartments, each housing a different garnish. Both men used the contents of the box, plus a variety of sauces, freshly-grated wasabi and other components, to build the bites in each of the 9 positions on the 5 plates. It was an amazing process to watch and the results were visually stunning and incredibly delicious.

Ondo Tamago

An extremely tasty combination of sauteed long beans topped and dried shrimp followed. This was served in a small, earthenware bowl, topped with a soft-cooked Jidori chicken egg and then smothered with freshly-shaved black truffle. It was served with house-baked focaccia, which was removed from the oven and sliced at the exact moment our plates were set in front of us. I loved this luxurious dish. It was so rich and comprised of such distinctive, bold flavors. The focaccia was perfect for sopping up the delicious runny yolk and bits of dried shrimp at the bottom of the bowl . . .

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Karei Nanban

Our next course was comprised of tender pieces of fried, black-back sole served in a brightly-flavored blood-orange vinaigrette that were resting in a cradle that had been formed from the fish's whole skeleton . . . which had itself, been fried to crispy perfection. I'd always wanted to try this delicacy and it did not disappoint. The fish and sauce were delicious and the crispy-crunchy bones were absolutely amazing. What a tasty combination and finally I'd gotten to try fried fish bones. Wow!

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Shabu Shabu

The aromatic, complex and subtle Shabu Shabu which came next was actually served on paper (formed into 'bowls' inside wire-form holders), and then set atop individual burners in front of each diner. This was served with several select pieces of sea bream and Nobuo instructed us on how long to cook the fish before eating it. After we'd finished with our sea bream, Nobuo carefully poured the Ocean Broth (aka dashi) from each sheet of paper into a 'regular' bowl, garnished each with some freshly-grated bonito and served them to us. I loved the simple beauty and resourcefulness of the presentation and I felt special eating Nobuo's personalized rendition of this important dish . . .

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Ebi

Next, a whole, grilled, New-Caledonian spot prawn was split lengthwise and served in uni sauce and garnished with uni and caviar. The minimalist presentation was dramatic, and the prawn was extremely tasty -- especially with the sauce and garnishes. It was another fantastic and innovative combination.

Ishyaki

Several slices of stunningly marbled Japanese Kobe beef, which had been marinated in a teriyaki-like sauce, were placed in front of me, along with an extremely hot stone. It was so well-marbled, it looked more white than red and I didn't even notice the marination until, as instructed, I placed a slice of it on the stone in front of me. As soon as I did, the meat began to sizzle and the sweet aroma of the marinade rose up to me. This was another absolutely amazing dish which delighted me in so many ways. I'd never had Kobe beef of this quality before and the preparation was magnificent. I don't think I 'cooked' each piece more than a few seconds on each side. That was enough and the flavors jumped out in ways I never could have anticipated. This was a magnificent dish . . .

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Foie Gras

As a first dessert, we were served slabs of seared foie gras, which had been marinated in miso. The foie was served with red and white wine poached-pears and yamamomo (aka bayberries). I was definitely not expecting foie gras at this stage of the meal but this inspired preparation was savory and sweet, creamy and tart and signalled well that the meal was making a turn and winding down.

Desaaru

The final transition from savory to sweet was delivered with an array of satisfying and complex desserts including a creamy yuzu tart in a buttery shell, a lemon goat-cheesecake with orange marmalade, jasmine and pumpkin ice creams and soy caramels. It was a fantastic close to a great adventure of a meal.

After dessert, we chatted for a while and I thought back over all the phenomenal courses we'd enjoyed. I was happy because I'd finally gotten to try so many things that I'd never encountered before -- and they were all quite delicious. It was clear to me that Nobuo, who'd been a great guide, teacher, host and chef for us on this night, was most deserving of his Beard-award nomination. Replaying the meal in my mind, I lost count of how many different techniques and ingredients had to have been used in creating it. When I realized that not one grain of rice had been served, it began to sink in just how thoroughly Nobuo had blown away my expectations, how truly remarkable it all was and how incredibly fortunate I was to be able to experience it.

=R=

Sea Saw

7133 East Stetson Drive

Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480 481-9463

Thanks, once again, to Eliot Wexler for the great images that appear in this post.


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Our dinner reservations were at the fairly well-known Sea Saw in Scottsdale.  Chef/proprietor Nobuo Fukada is something of a local legend (and is also the winner of the 2007 Best Chef-Southwest Beard Award) and as much as I'd heard and read about Sea Saw, looking back, I understand now that I didn't have a clear idea about what was in store for us.  What I expected was a top-quality sushi/sashimi meal in a typical upper-tier, sushi restaurant.  What I got instead was a glorious, hand-prepared Omakase, the likes of which I'd never seen before; a meal that was life-changing in many ways.

After reading a few threads here about the highly-regarded Matsumoto, I wondered whether such a style of meal would be something I would enjoy.  I knew I would appreciate it but the details didn't sound particularly compelling to me, from a culinary point of view.  Perhaps someday, I thought, an interested friend will ask me to join him at Matsumoto and I will oblige.  Of course, not too long after I had that thought, Matsumoto morphed into Chiyo and the opportunity, at least in its purest form, was lost.  Frankly, I was only a little disappointed.  The landscape changes quickly in the restaurant world and this wasn't the first time I'd lost out on a specific dining opportunity.  I'd live.  But my curiousity persisted.

Since my friend kept referring to Nobuo's mastery over fish and seafood, I never quite put the pieces together in advance of my meal there.  But once inside Sea Saw's small and intimate space, the picture started to clear for me.  We sat at the counter separating us from the chefs, chatted a bit and sipped sake.  Then, without even a mention of menus, Nobuo himself began to prepare our meals.  With 5 empty plates in front of him, he began assembling our first course.  This was not sushi -- not even close.

Hassun

On small, square black plates with matte finish, the components were carefully arranged.  Like an artist creating a composition, Nobou transformed the plates, in just a few moments, from mere conveyers of food to something far more significant.  The one in front of me looked like a painting and it was an exact match for the 4 other plates in front of my dining companions.  It was simply remarkable.  Nobuo described its contents.  In the front left corner sat 2 fried, octopus suction cups -- crispy, satifyingly chewy and delicious.  In the middle of the plate, facing opposite directions were 2 Japanese soup spoons.  One held a small portion of briney soup made from mozuku seaweed and Japanese mountain potato.  The other held a magnificent combination of fresh kumamoto oyster, topped with uni, sevruga caviar and wasabi oil.  In the top, right corner of the plate was a demitasse filled with warm edamame soup, garnished with caviar, ginger-creme fraiche and gold leaf.  Aside from being beautiful and provocative the plate's contents were absolutely delicious.

What followed this auspicious opener was a mind-bending progression of courses that I could have never conceptualized in my wildest dreams.  I was suddenly a judge on an episode of Iron Chef, although with this meal, there was no common ingredient, aside from Nobuo's brilliance.

Sashimi

Next up was a beautifully-composed plate of 'sashimi.'  This was another square plate -- a white one this time -- which had 9, immaculately-prepared pieces of protein arranged in 3 perfect rows of 3.  It wasn't all sashimi, as there was a portion of seared bluefin and a portion of seared duck breast too.  Fresh sea bream, scorpion fish and a few others completed the plate, which we devoured methodically, from bottom to top.  It was fascinating watching Nobuo and his sous prepare these masterpieces.  As Nobuo arranged the primary components, his sous moved along with him, holding a small tackle box-like contraption with about 50 small compartments, each housing a different garnish.  Both men used the contents of the box, plus a variety of sauces, freshly-grated wasabi and other components, to build the bites in each of the 9 positions on the 5 plates.  It was an amazing process to watch and the results were visually stunning and incredibly delicious.

Ondo Tamago

An extremely tasty combination of sauteed long beans topped and dried shrimp followed.  This was served in a small, earthenware bowl, topped with a soft-cooked Jidori chicken egg and then smothered with freshly-shaved black truffle.  It was served with house-baked focaccia, which was removed from the oven and sliced at the exact moment our plates were set in front of us.  I loved this luxurious dish.  It was so rich and comprised of such distinctive, bold flavors.  The focaccia was perfect for sopping up the delicious runny yolk and bits of dried shrimp at the bottom of the bowl . . .

Karei Nanban

Our next course was comprised of tender pieces of fried, black-back sole served in a brightly-flavored blood-orange vinaigrette that were resting in a cradle that had been formed from the fish's whole skeleton . . . which had itself, been fried to crispy perfection.  I'd always wanted to try this delicacy and it did not disappoint.  The fish and sauce were delicious and the crispy-crunchy bones were absolutely amazing.  What a tasty combination and finally I'd gotten to try fried fish bones.  Wow!

Shabu Shabu

The aromatic, complex and subtle Shabu Shabu which came next was actually served on paper (formed into 'bowls' inside wire-form holders), and then set atop individual burners in front of each diner.  This was served with several select pieces of sea bream and Nobuo instructed us on how long to cook the fish before eating it.  After we'd finished with our sea bream, Nobuo carefully poured the Ocean Broth (aka dashi) from each sheet of paper into a 'regular' bowl, garnished each with some freshly-grated bonito and served them to us.  I loved the simple beauty and resourcefulness of the presentation and I felt special eating Nobuo's personalized rendition of this important dish . . .

Ebi

Next, a whole, grilled, New-Caledonian spot prawn was split lengthwise and served in uni sauce and garnished with uni and caviar.  The minimalist presentation was dramatic, and the prawn was extremely tasty -- especially with the sauce and garnishes.  It was another fantastic and innovative combination.

Ishyaki

Several slices of stunningly marbled Japanese Kobe beef, which had been marinated in a teriyaki-like sauce, were placed in front of me, along with an extremely hot stone.  It was so well-marbled, it looked more white than red and I didn't even notice the marination until, as instructed, I placed a slice of it on the stone in front of me.  As soon as I did, the meat began to sizzle and the sweet aroma of the marinade rose up to me.  This was another absolutely amazing dish which delighted me in so many ways.  I'd never had Kobe beef of this quality before and the preparation was magnificent.  I don't think I 'cooked' each piece more than a few seconds on each side.  That was enough and the flavors jumped out in ways I never could have anticipated.  This was a magnificent dish . . .

Foie Gras

As a first dessert, we were served slabs of seared foie gras, which had been marinated in miso.  The foie was served with red and white wine poached-pears and yamamomo (aka bayberries).  I was definitely not expecting foie gras at this stage of the meal but this inspired preparation was savory and sweet, creamy and tart and signalled well that the meal was making a turn and winding down.

Desaaru

The final transition from savory to sweet was delivered with an array of satisfying and complex desserts including a creamy yuzu tart in a buttery shell, a lemon goat-cheesecake with orange marmalade, jasmine and pumpkin ice creams and soy caramels.  It was a fantastic close to a great adventure of a meal.

After dessert, we chatted for a while and I thought back over all the phenomenal courses we'd enjoyed.  I was happy because I'd finally gotten to try so many things that I'd never encountered before -- and they were all quite delicious.  It was clear to me that Nobuo, who'd been a great guide, teacher, host and chef for us on this night, was most deserving of his Beard-award nomination.  Replaying the meal in my mind, I lost count of how many different techniques and ingredients had to have been used in creating it.  When I realized that not one grain of rice had been served, it began to sink in just how thoroughly Nobuo had blown away my expectations, how truly remarkable it all was and how incredibly fortunate I was to be able to experience it.

=R=

Sea Saw

7133 East Stetson Drive

Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480 481-9463

Here are a few images from this meal of some dishes that I have not put up before:

gallery_30892_1958_347465.jpg

edamame soup with dashi/ginger gelee pickled cherry blossom and gold leaf

some different pieces on the sashimi plate

gallery_30892_1958_119444.jpg

cool duck with kumquat puree

I requested the cool duck because I had not had it in forever

gallery_30892_1958_166601.jpg

santa barbara spot prawn with fresh wasabi and soy

gallery_30892_1958_534915.jpg

kombujime, kelp cured okoze "scorpion fish" with yuzu kosho, yuzu zest and juice topped with micro chervil

I love this one

gallery_30892_1958_420762.jpg

bluefin yuan with sweet onion sauce

too bad as a youth, I was not served bluefin because I would have been a fish lover much sooner

gallery_30892_1958_392527.jpg

new caledonian shrimp grilled with uni, caviar and lobster uni broth

I have eaten out many times with RS and enjoyed many a meal but he has brought up our meal at Sea Saw many times since and that is a barometer of what a special experience Sea Saw is.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have been lucky enough to try some of the dishes that Chef Fukuda and Sous-Chef Geoff Reed are devising for Shell Shock (the new off-shoot that will be opening soon). On a couple of Sunday dinners, Sous-Chef Geoff Reed has put me thru the rigorous process of testing some new dishes :laugh: .

silken tofu with ginger, myoga, chive, nori, sesame

and sweet soy

shrimp duo, new caledonian shrimp, dry ginger garlic

and soy marinated and fried with curry green papaya,

grilled with uni caviar and japanese cucumber sauce

ama ebi chawan mushi, steamed jidori egg custard with

santa barbara spot prawn, shimeji mushroom, mitsuba,

yuzu and chives

fried tofu with soy caramel and green tea ice cream

when I was in grade school, I hated the smell of tuna fish sandwiches, especially after having sat in someone's locker before lunch...this sandwich may have converted me... Geoff made a foie gras poached bluefin tuna then mixed it with wasabi aioli put it on housemade freshly baked foccacia with tomato and McClendon micro-greens...WOWOWOWOWOW!

I can not wait for Shell Shock to open as my new favorite spot for lunch

Phoenix Best Bets:

Sea Saw

Binkley's Restaurant

Zinc Bistro

Cyclo

Lo-Lo's Fried Chicken and Waffles

Kohnies-Coffee, Breakfast and Best Scones

Pizzeria Bianco

Pane Bianco - Chris Bianco's Sandwich Spot

Matt's Big Breakfast

Arlecchino Gelateria

The Pork Shop

Postino Wine Cafe

Welcome Diner

Andreoli Italian Grocery & Deli


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Sea Saw is offering a Summer 4 course tasting menu Sunday thru Wednesday for $40 with wine pairing $50 (total :smile: )

McClendon's Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Ondo Tamago

slow poached Jidori egg, dried scallop and shrimp sauce, Chinese long beans and sesame and green onion foccacia

Soft Shell Crab

rice noodle salad

Warm Duck Salad

mix of McClendon micro greens, orange tamarind sauce

The courses may change a bit, while they are testing out dishes for their upcoming new offshoot Shell Shock. Needless to say, $50 tasting menu with wine pairings at Sea Saw is one HELLUVA deal.


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Sea Saw is offering a Summer 4 course tasting menu Sunday thru Wednesday for $40 with wine pairing $50 (total  :smile: )

McClendon's Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Ondo Tamago

slow poached Jidori egg, dried scallop and shrimp sauce, Chinese long beans and sesame and green onion foccacia

Soft Shell Crab

rice noodle salad

Warm Duck Salad

mix of McClendon micro greens, orange tamarind sauce

The courses may change a bit, while they are testing out dishes for their upcoming new offshoot Shell Shock. Needless to say, $50 tasting menu with wine pairings at Sea Saw is one HELLUVA deal.

Sounds awesome. I can hardly wait to get back there.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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hello egullet, my name is geoff reed, i work at sea saw. my father marty and i have developed many of the items we use at sea saw, it started with the titanium plating chopstick then to knives, bonito shavers and recently circulators, which emolto has purchased from us recently. marty is a technician for the science department at humboldt state university and a hobby craftsman. he has created items not only for seasaw but other restaurants and chefs have contracted him for equipment as well, the imagination is the only boundary for what he can fabricate. the following are a few pictures of previous projects.

gallery_40609_3951_529.jpg

blood wood and birdseye maple

gallery_40609_3951_5882.jpg

boxes made from maple and blood wood anodized titanium handle and rosewood

gallery_40609_3951_1691.jpg

a display case of chopsticks and different handles

gallery_40609_3951_31785.jpg

usuba style knife with ebony handle

gallery_40609_3951_7088.jpg

cleaver with chakteviga handle

gallery_40609_3951_58983.jpg

a petty knife with ebony handle

gallery_40609_3951_54009.jpg

takobiki style yanagi and usuba

gallery_40609_3951_27388.jpg

nobuo's christmas present, cigar box

gallery_40609_3951_7194.jpg

yanagi with birdseye

gallery_40609_3951_23074.jpg

eating chopsticks from ebony

gallery_40609_3951_21054.jpg

circulator, emolto has a different style

gallery_40609_3951_12108.jpg

box for hashi bloodwood base and birdseye top with stylized crane

gallery_40609_3951_17095.jpg

my bonito shaver with engraving on the top

there are many more photos, that i will get to at another time.


Edited by crafty1r (log)

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Very cool, Geoff! I wondered, when I ate at Sea Saw, where some of those tools came from. Now I know.

How long does it take to fabricate one of those cleavers? They look amazing. That bonito shaver is also a sweet looking tool. Is that designed by your father, or patterned after other, similar units?

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Very cool, Geoff!  I wondered, when I ate at Sea Saw, where some of those tools came from.  Now I know.

How long does it take to fabricate one of those cleavers?  They look amazing.  That bonito shaver is also a sweet looking tool.  Is that designed by your father, or patterned after other, similar units?

=R=

glad you like ronnie. the knives, once ordered, take awhile 3-6 weeks it varies on the type, size and materials ordered. i also have a damascus one that we made for a guy in washington dc that came to the restaurant to eat. the bonito shaver is a basic design of an inverted planner with a box to catch the shavings. this box was embellished a little. the engraving i have on it translates to "curious appetite" and then my name.


Edited by crafty1r (log)

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I have seen a bunch of the stuff that Geoff's Dad has crafted and it is top-notch! The circulator that I bought from them is a great addition to my kitchen toys...and might I add, beat the hell out of the price that others offer them for.


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Is the new See Saw open yet (I forget the name of the large development where it will be located)?

I'm looking for ideas for our trip to Scottsdale/Phoenix early next month (to visit my brother and family). He usually knows what's going on better than I do - but it doesn't hurt to learn a bit about what's new before we visit.

BTW - I read somewhere (on a foodie site) that at See Saw - they think sushi - i.e., - fish with rice - is stupid. This sounded absurd to me. Was that statement correct? I can understand a Japanese restaurant that chooses not to serve sushi - but sushi is an integral part of Japanese cuisine best I can tell. Robyn

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Is the new See Saw open yet (I forget the name of the large development where it will be located)?

I'm looking for ideas for our trip to Scottsdale/Phoenix early next month (to visit my brother and family).  He usually knows what's going on better than I do - but it doesn't hurt to learn a bit about what's new before we visit.

BTW - I read somewhere (on a foodie site) that at See Saw - they think sushi - i.e., - fish with rice - is stupid.  This sounded absurd to me.  Was that statement correct?  I can understand a Japanese restaurant that chooses not to serve sushi - but sushi is an integral part of Japanese cuisine best I can tell.  Robyn

i assure you that no one there thinks sushi is stupid... real sushi is an amazing thing when prepared by someone trained to do it properly, which is hard to come by. as for the waterfront project, its expected to be around the end of the year for the move.

have you dined at seasaw before?


Edited by crafty1r (log)

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I finally got a chance to dine at Sea Saw a few weeks ago. My husband surprised me for our anniversary. He did not make reservations early enough for the omakase so we sat at one of the few tables instead. Something I don't remembered described is that the restaurant is 75% bar and cooking area, the tables seem an afterthought really. Admittedly I was a little dissappointed in not having the omakase but our meal was wonderful just the same.

The standouts for me were:

-the cold duck, cooked perfect, it was delicious and what duck should be

-the tuna plate in which the belly was amazing

-the foie gras. O.M.G. We ordered all our plates to share and ordered a second plate of the foie once we finished the first because it was so amazing. Truely a sexy, sensual delicate dish that can rightly stand up to the "sex on a plate" analogy that comes to mind. Whoo! You need a cigarette after that one. All time stops when enjoying those yummy bits.

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Genny,

Glad you got to try Sea Saw...next time OMAKASE so you can try some of the best beef in town (but ask if it is available, it goes fast :wacko: ) :

gallery_30892_1958_88560.jpg

gallery_30892_1958_1123470.jpg

Japanese Wagyu Ribeye with the Cap removed (Cap on top)

gallery_30892_1958_820781.jpg

Eye of the Ribeye

gallery_30892_1958_55706.jpg

Ribeye Cap

Molto E


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Is the new See Saw open yet (I forget the name of the large development where it will be located)?

I'm looking for ideas for our trip to Scottsdale/Phoenix early next month (to visit my brother and family).  He usually knows what's going on better than I do - but it doesn't hurt to learn a bit about what's new before we visit.

BTW - I read somewhere (on a foodie site) that at See Saw - they think sushi - i.e., - fish with rice - is stupid.  This sounded absurd to me.  Was that statement correct?  I can understand a Japanese restaurant that chooses not to serve sushi - but sushi is an integral part of Japanese cuisine best I can tell.  Robyn

i assure you that no one there thinks sushi is stupid... real sushi is an amazing thing when prepared by someone trained to do it properly, which is hard to come by. as for the waterfront project, its expected to be around the end of the year for the move.

have you dined at seasaw before?

Well - we'll be there in a couple of weeks - so - if we dine there - it will be at the old location. And no - we haven't dined at Sea Saw before (my brother used to live in Cave Creek before he moved to Scottsdale this year - so we tended at dine at places that were further north). If I had - I wouldn't be asking these questions :smile: . Robyn

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Genny,

Glad you got to try Sea Saw...next time OMAKASE so you can try some of the best beef in town (but ask if it is available, it goes fast  ) :

Ah Molto E!!! A true thing of beauty. I'll have to save my calories for that one in addition to my pennies!!! Indeed, my next visit will be for the Omakase. Such porn you post!!! :wub:

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