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How Sushi Master Masayuki Komatsu Uses Japan’s Prized Kinki Fish in His Omakase

The chef braises the valuable fish to make a traditional nitsuke, a rustic Japanese dish of simmered fish 

Cut, color, clarity, and carat. These are the four qualities that sushi chef Masayuki Komatsu learned to look for from his father, a diamond appraiser, in the imported fish he gets from Japan for his omakase-style restaurant, Hiyakawa in Miami.

He looks for the right colors in his fish, the “carat” in the weight of the fish, then to the eyes, and gills to show for clarity and quality. “Lastly, the cut. That is on me. It’s important I do a clean job,” says Komatsu.

As the former head sushi chef at Morimoto in New York City, Komatsu served 600-800 people a night. Now, with Hiyakawa, he’s opening his own 25-seat sushi restaurant. “We hope to focus more on the quality and the Japanese hospitality.” While the restaurant has yet to open, Komatsu shows us what goes into a days work at the soon-to-be space, like how he prepares the popular kinki fish, how to clean the very inky sumi ika fish, and how he receives prawns from Japan: alive, and “sleeping” in a bed of sawdust.

Chef Komatsu’s decision to become a sushi chef came later in life. After college he became a hydraulic engineer, but after five taxing years, decided it was not what he wanted.

“If you are afraid of making a decision, my advice is, just do it. Something will change for sure. Who knows if it’s good or bad,” says Chef Komatsu. “People are made to make mistakes. But whether that mistake takes you forward to the next level is up to you. You make that decision.”

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