Teruzushi: A Unique Sushi Experience
I was already intrigued by Teruzushi, located in Kitakyushu’s Tobata district, when I was told that I would experience “the finest sushi as entertainment” provided by chef and owner Takayoshi Watanabe. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the restaurant and was greeted by its friendly COVID-19 compliant staff who showed me to my seat and made sure all precautions against coronavirus were taken care of.
With classical music playing in the background, the third-generation sushi chef Watanabe-san announced that the "sushi opera" would now begin. I was mesmerized by his flamboyant, fun personality as he deftly prepared and presented sushi, pausing only to pose dramatically for a quick photo. At one point, Watanabe-san wielded a real Japanese katana sword to slice sashimi.
Local Seafood Goodness
While Watanabe-san is certainly a gifted entertainer, don’t believe for a moment that his showmanship is all fluff and no substance. He is a master chef as well, serving me one sushi after another that nearly overwhelmed my senses with flavor and presentation.
The local ingredients used were just superb and my taste buds were doing a happy dance after each dish. I want to highlight two ingredients that were seared into my gastronomical memory. One was a combination of red sea bream, tuna, and a glorious topping of caviar from Italy, wrapped in seaweed. This winning triplet combination simply melted in my mouth. The other unforgettable ingredient was an extra-large tiger prawn from the waters of Oita prefecture. The prawn is the same size as three separate pieces of sushi. It is served with dark-colored sushi rice, which is a first-class rice variety from Saga prefecture cooked with Okawa sake vinegar. The vinaigrette flavor went well with the seafood delicacy.
IMURI: A Passion for Japanese Cuisine
IMURI is nestled in a quiet hilly residential area of the Chuo district in Fukuoka City, and, as I made my way up the winding pathway to the restaurant, I knew I would be treated to a nice evening view of the city. It was dusk and the front of the restaurant was beautifully lit as I approached the entrance.
IMURI offers a variety of dishes based on Japanese cuisine with a touch of French finesse.
A la Carte Heaven
The name of the restaurant means "foundation" in Latin, appropriate because although IMURI has over 100 a la carte menu items available, it remains true to its foundation of using only the freshest and most flavorful ingredients.
From the first dish, an appetizer plate which included an oyster, scallop with garlic oil, and pufferfish, I knew I was in for an extraordinary dining experience. It was followed by an assortment of fresh sashimi that nearly melted away in my mouth. I especially enjoyed the sashimi that was lightly seared, adding a slightly smoky flavor to the fish.
The Cuisine of Fukuoka City
Next up was the charcoal-grilled sirloin with red wine sauce, French cuisine at its finest as the extravagantly flavored meat was cooked to tender perfection. Equally splendid were the tai sea bream and tempura but the absolute highlight for me was the last dish of the night called " okoge no ankake." This dish made with scorched rice arrived in a large, hot earthenware pot. Vegetables simmered in broth are poured over the rice with a satisfying sizzle, giving the dish a gentle flavor that brings to mind the Japanese countryside.
IMURI attains the trifecta of an intimate atmosphere, exceptional hospitality and culinary perfection, and is the perfect way to experience the cuisine of Fukuoka city, Kyushu.