While everyone worries about their New Year’s Eve plans, I am always consumed with what I will eat the day after, when the people in the restaurant biz forsake Seattle diners for a long and well-deserved siesta after a busy holiday season.
So when Taichi Kitmaura, co-owner and executive chef of Sushi Kappo Tamura, told me he and his right-hand man Hirokazu Tawara would be debuting a traditional Japanese New Year’s meal called osechi-ryori, I was intrigued. When I heard it would feed 3-4 people for breakfast, lunch, and possibly dinner (if you have more self-control than most), I was all in.
Osechi ryori is a culinary custom heavily leveraging ancient methods of preserving food such as curing and simmering in soy sauce and sake. Vegetables and fish are king, although meat has made an appearance in more modern osechi. Everything is stored and served in lacquer boxes and prepared to be eaten at room temperature.
Some families still make their own osechi-ryori feast, but my buddy Yoshi says most people in Japan now order it.
Yoshi, who partakes in this Japanese tradition every year in his hometown of Kyushu, says Sushi Kappo Tamura nailed their rendition of the osechi. He asserts it is the most exquisite presentation he has ever seen, even topping what he has experienced in Japan.
Here is a glance at what it takes to whip up this Japanese tradition:
- Preparation: 10 chefs and two months of planning
- 29 dishes: Yup, you read that right. Doesn’t that make a nine-course tasting menu sound like child’s play?
- Number of osechi ryoris: Kitamura sold 40 this year. 90 percent were purchased by Japanese families who have grown up enjoying this tradition
The word on the street is that it is considered bad luck to leave any contents of the osechi uneaten. No problems here.
Happy New Year, People. Add “order osechi feast from Sushi Kappo Tamura” on your to do list for the end of 2013.
Until then, stop in and try Sushi Kappo Tamura’s weekend bento lunch to get a snippet of the restaurant’s A+ rating in elaborate presentation and quality.