Feasting on Pompano at Marumi Sushi
The restaurant had a pretty extensive selection of fish available for the weekend. There was striped bass, red snapper, tilapia, and bronzino and two local offerings: strawberry grouper and pompano. We nabbed the last two, which were done up a half-dozen ways between them. The pompano alone, pictured above, had three variations on one exotic and intricate plating. I numbered each section for easy visualization:
1) Pompano ceviche with red onion, cilantro, and cherry tomato. It was marinated in rice wine vinegar for a pleasant, not-too-tart taste.
2) Usuzukuri, which is thin-sliced sashimi arranged to look like a blooming flower. The thin cut accentuates the white fish's lightness and delicacy and is typically dipped in ponzu sauce (soy lightened with yuzu, a kind of Japanese citrus).
3) Thicker-sliced pompano sashimi was bolder and featured more of the fish's firm texture. The slices were arranged on top of a shiso leaf, which imparted some of its grassy flavor, and set inside a sail made out of the pompano itself. After it was presented, the waitress removed the fish's frame, telling us Tetsu and Teru were going to use it to make a soup for us.
How did Dad like it? He went nuts for the pompano, calling it "some of the best sashimi I've ever eaten." After we finished the sushi, Tetsu-san brought out a hulking cauldron of soup made from miso and the pompano's frame. Everyone was so full, but the scent of the mirin-enhanced broth livened with chunks of pompano, grouper, tofu, bean sprouts, and cabbage was enough to entice everyone to try a bowl.