Only in Japan can you get specialisation in one ingredient like this one. Tucked away in Nihonbashi was a restaurant that specialised in squid. And you can guessed the name of the restaurant – Ika Center.
Right in the middle of the restaurant was the live Ika tank. You can still see live squid swimming in the cold seawater. These were not farmed squid, you cannot farm squid. These were caught alive and then shipped to this restaurant.
Simple start, the Fish Skin Jelly was made of scraps of white fish meat and seaweed with gelatin.
もずくMozuku in Ponzu Sauce – This mozuku seaweed could only be harvested in the beautiful ocean of Okinawa. The characteristics are that it is thicker than any other mozuku seaweed in other parts of Japan. The slimy surface is rich in fucoidan. It is said that fucoidan has an antibacterial function, strengthens the immune system, improves lifestyle-related diseases such as arterial sclerosis, has a cancer preventative effect balances intestinal health.
Also it contains dietary fiber which improves the intestinal condition such as alginic acid, calcium which is effective in preventing osteoporosis minerals such as magnesium that enhances the absorption of calcium. To add to that, it is a low calorie healthy food. Mozuku seaweed is a remarkable food that has supported the health longevity of Okinawa.
イカ肝ルイベ Raw squid liver Ruibe, marinated. It was really salty to eat on its own. So you have to either eat it with the radish mash, or drown it in beer. Ruibe (ルイベ) is a dish of the Ainu people of northern Japan, consisting of seafood that is frozen outdoors, sliced like sashimi, and served with soy sauce and water peppers.
Cultivated water pepper (蓼 Tade) leaves are used as a condiment. The seeds of the water-pepper may be added to wasabi. Water-pepper sauce are known as Tade-zu (蓼酢, water pepper vinegar) is a sauce traditionally made from finely chopped Water-pepper leaves, soaked in vinegar, and a small amount of steamed-rice. Occasionally, the juice from a squeezed Kabosu is added. In Japanese cuisine it is traditionally used as a complement to grilled Freshwater fish (but usually not other grilled fishes).
鮮烈 鬼盛（おにもり）Assorted Sashimi – Besides squid, they provided other kind of fresh seafood through their association with fishing fleets. So these sashimi were not from Tsukiji sot they were not subjected to the flash freezing or sashimi treatment. So you still do see a bit of blood on the flesh. Nevertheless, the sashimi was fresh but I would not say top grade.
The live squid was filleted and then cut into thin wafers of sashimi. You can see the intricate knife work that was performed on the surface of the Ika.
Palate cleaner, we were served a Hamaguri Clear Soup. The sweetness of the hamaguri (clams) was all it needed. The soup base was just a simple konbu stock, and you add a few hamaguri and ginger julienne and you get a really tasty soup. Of course, if you add clams which are not so fresh, you get a pot of disaster.
Next, we are presented with different ways the squid can be fried. First up, イカ天 Ika Ten – Tempura style squid. Squid is coated with tempura batter and deep fried. You can either dip the tempura sauce or just eat it with salt and lemon.
ゲソ軟骨唐揚 Fried Squid Legs – All the tiny little legs of the squid, if you cannot stand the squeamish live eats, you can have it deep fried in batter with shiso leaves. Very crispy and tasty, perfect with a cold one.
Other Cooked Dish
Potato Salad – nothing to shout about.
Next came the hotpot – it was made with big pieces of fish bones and vegetables. Tasty.
Then came an assorted combination of vegetable and squid fried.
And dinner ended with the seasonal grilled fish, and the one we had was Saba
The place was lively like an Izakaya. All you can drinks 飲み放題 Nomihodai for USD 70/80 including the set dinner per person.
Great to come after work with colleagues to just relax in the friendly atmosphere.
Senikaikan building B1, 3-1-11, Honcho,
Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-0023
Tel : 03-3527-9566 (+81-3-3527-9566)
Mitsukoshimae(Tokyo) – Subway Ginza Line Mitsukoshimae Station Exit A9 1-minute walk
Date visited : Jun 2017