It has been 40-50 years since sushi was first introduced to New York City. Originally offered in small establishments catering to the Japanese business traveler, it instantly became widely popular, as these travelers brought along their American acquaintances, wishing to introduce them to this traditional Japanese food. And suddenly the phrase "Have you ever eaten RAW fish?", became the challenge of the day. Within 10 years numerous restaurants had sprung up all over town and the traditional offerings became highly influenced and Americanized in this new environment. Cuisine, like technology and fashion, continues to develop and change along with the times. From the first Tekkamaki, to the creation of the 'California' in 1983, to the present day additions of the Rainbow, Dragon, and Spider, New Yorkers have definitely been "on a roll". Recently fancy sauces and outrageous presentations (gold flakes, tempura crisps, cream cheese, jalapeños, etc) have been added to the mix. Today, all kinds of items are being combined with the basic fish and rice, not to mention the ultimate sacrilege; deep fried sushi.
Chef Toshio arrived in NYC in the midst of all those exciting changes and was happy to use his classical training in a more contemporary way. So he jumped right in and began to experiment with these new possibilities and expanded his traditional sushi repertoire. He willingly indulged his customers' (sometimes bizarre) requests for previously unimaginable ingredient combinations. However, at one point he began to fear the loss of the classic sushi tradition; it's humble roots and elegant simplicity of taste and presentation. This return to the essence of sushi is the basis of the Tanoshi philosophy. Chef Toshio wished to bring back classical, Edo-period style sushi, which uses surprisingly few, but absolutely pristine, ingredients.
Having begun his training in the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan, Chef Toshio had long-known that great sushi needs good warm rice, fresh fish, mild soy sauce and crispy seaweed (nori). At Tanoshi, Chef Toshio made a special soy sauce called "nikiri", and brushed it on top of the fish. This nikiri provides a balanced taste with vinegar to achieve perfect sushi rice -- so please do not dip your sushi into the soy sauce! The red vinegar we use for rice is called "akazu," and it is the use of this specific vinegar which makes our rice naturally nutty and sweet, so we can use much less sugar. This special touch makes our sushi extremely refreshing.
After our significant loss of Chef Toshio on October 4th 2018, we are doing our best to recreate and pick up what he left off, which was "loosey-sushi" that will dissemble in the mouth easily, allowing all of the textures and flavors to meld, producing a truly delectable and memorable sushi experience. To enhance the sensuality of this experience and increase your enjoyment, Chef Toshio encouraged all of his customers to eat his sushi with their fingers, as chopstick use with loose sushi can be inefficient. Please come enjoy Chef Toshio's sushi at TANOSHI!!
Additionally, please mention to your waiter if you have any allergies or dislikes of fish. The Chef wants you to enjoy all of your sushi without even one piece -- or grain of rice -– wasted.
– K. Oguma