Some Like It Raw
Cool, raw treats for the dog days Of summer.
Photography by Dawn Smith/Shaffer Smith Photography
When the weather gets steamy, nothing seduces like sashimi. Cool when your body is hot, eating sashimi on a summer night is as pleasurable as slipping into the cool, refreshing ocean. Of course, the Japanese aren’t alone in appreciating raw pleasures. In the Americas, ceviche has been a beachfront staple for centuries. Like sushi, ceviche is a calorie-counter’s savior: it’s so tasty and satisfying, you’ll never feel deprived. Nor have Europeans missed the raw boat. Raw oysters, tasting like tiny sips of the sea, have been relished forever. And even carnivores can enjoy the charm of raw: look for classic beef tartare on steakhouse menus. This summer, when the days get steamy and hot meals are just too much, slide into the pure, cool waters of raw.
Nessa, Port Chester’s enoteca-cum-panini palace, offers the traditional Venetian raw-beef salad. It starts with tender, lean,
Toro Two Ways
Toro, or the fatty belly of bluefin tuna, is like any of those other rarefied, superfatted proteins (we’re thinking here of Kobe beef and foie gras): it offers the ethereal pleasure of delicate flesh amped up with lots of lush, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth fat. Pink, totally unfishy, and almost insubstantial in texture, toro is the highest-priced part of bluefin tuna, which is already one of the priciest fish on the market. To sushi chefs, bluefin toro is their most precious commodity, often listed at market price, and costing chefs $60 per pound or more. Chef Peter Kelly’s showcase for this costly delicacy is “toro two ways,” a boxed wonder that offers both toro sashimi and toro tartare. While the toro sashimi offers the purest bite of the flesh (it’s simply garnished with the exotic, perfumy flavor of hanaho flower), Kelly’s toro tartare is a more savory morsel. Here the delicate bluefin belly is served with chilled yuzu ponzu, and rich Greek yogurt scented with raspberry compote and shichimi.
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson, Dylan Lounge
Pineapple and Mint Salmon Ceviche
According to Chef Rafael Palomino, the legend of ceviche goes like this: Peruvian fishermen once found themselves stranded in an open boat with only limes on hand to prevent scrurvy.
Saturday Night Roll
The polar opposite of formal Sushi Nanase in White Plains, at Sushi Mike’s, traditional Japanese sushi is given an irreverent ride with unusual, American-style maki. Where Sushi Nanase is quiet and small, Sushi Mike’s is thronged and noisy: look for a boisterous crowd and, on weekends, long lines.Of all the American-style maki on offer (including Mike’s Out-of-Control Roll, American Hero Roll, Kamikazi Roll, and Out of this World Roll), we’ve chosen Sushi Mike’s Saturday Night Roll. It features wildly unorthodox Philadelphia cream cheese, along with crab salad, chopped yellowtail, spicy salmon, tuna, and fried garlic chips. We figure that, when it comes to great food, authentic-shmauthentic; let’s just say it’s delicious.
Sushi Mike’s 146 Main St, Dobbs Ferry
As the success of gonzo eaters like Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain attest, there’s a new interest in outré gastronomy, as in bugs, eyeballs, and cuts of meat not mentioned in polite company. While many of these dishes are exotic, we feel there’s nothing as freaky as the European classics—we’re thinking here escargots, foie gras, and, our personal favorite, steak tartare.
Carefully Sourced, Exotic, and Boutique Raw Oysters
Chef Brian Galvin’s an admitted oyster nut, as is