New York City’s two and three Michelin-starred restaurants turn to one vendor for their tuna supply: Yama Seafood. Led by director Nobu Yamanashi, the vendor specializes in bringing the very best albacore, bigeye, yellow fin, and bluefin tuna to the city’s top restaurants.
Yamanashi and his team begin their days at 3 a.m. in their Jersey City, NJ shop, readying hauls for delivery to restaurants like Daniel and Le Bernardin. “Tuna is very difficult,” says Yamanashi. “Every fish is different, from coloring to texture to fat content, so on some days we have to keep cutting, cutting, and cutting and cutting until we find the right one. Quality is more important than anything else.”
His team spends the day inspecting the fish that comes in from suppliers, running them through scaling machines, butchering the finest cuts as specified by their customers, inspecting them again, and packaging and delivering the pieces. Many days, this includes 400-500 pound bluefin tuna from Spain.
Yamanashi abides by the rules and examples that his father, Kingo Yamanashi, set when he started the business over 40 years ago: Never steal or cheat, and always say good morning when you come to work. “If you can’t do it here as a mentality, you can’t do it out there when you’re doing deliveries,” Yamanashi explains. His dad wanted “loyal, hardworking people that will never lie, cheat, or steal from him. Those are the people that are still here today that will retire and have this job for 30 or 40 years.”