How many of you have seen that famous Simpson's episode where Homer tries puffer fish?
I think for most of us, puffer fish is something that's exotic, far away, and not really something you would expect to see ever on a US menu.
On Sunday we visited one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in Boston, Oishii. Bryan saw fugu on the specials menu and really really wanted to try it. Fugu is the infamous puffer fish. It contains a lethal poison, tetrododoxin, which must be carefully removed before consumption. In Japan, fugu preparation is controlled by law and only licensed chefs (who train for 2-3 years!) can prepare and sell the fish.
Rumor has it that your lips "tingle" a bit when you taste it, allegedly from the tiny bit of residual poison. The poison works by paralyzing your muscles. Most victims die of asphyxiation.
And Bryan really wanted to try it???!!
Don't ask me why, but the risk of this dish is a large part of the draw of this weirdly exotic dish.True thrill seekers will actually flirt with death (and the law!!) by eating the liver, the most poisonous part of the puffer fish.
I continuously snapped pictures as Bryan tried his first bite.
Chew chew . . . pause . . . . funny expression.
"It definitely tastes like a cross between lobster and squid sashimi. And there is a slight tingle."
Swallow. More pauses.
I think he's going to be OK.
Phew! OK . . on to dessert!
Valentine's Dessert at Oishii
In reality, these days the risk of dying from eating fugu is pretty low. In fact, between 1993 and 2006, only 23 incidents were reported, with only one occurring at a restaurant. All the others involved fisherman eating their catch.
Furthermore, the biggest risk is eating the liver (now illegal in Japan!), the ovaries, or the skin (not as much risk with the flesh).
Nevertheless, there's still this slight sense of fear and excitement at the same time when you're trying something like fugu for the first time!
Though we eat out often, we actually chose to stay home on Valentine's Day proper. I seared a simple, sous vide prime steak and we paired it with some fresh pasta tossed with a little bit of butter, cream, and thinly sliced black truffles.
Simple, elegant, and totally relaxing.
What's up next?
Next week we wrap up the Las Vegas Series (three more restaurants, including the best steak Bryan's ever had in his life, Two-Michelin Stars, and a really famous chef from LA). After that? Look out for posts on some of Boston's most well-known burgers, several more giveaways, and a Tokyo Series!
Have a wonderful weekend!
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