Hokkaido is supposedly famous for fresh seafood, so I headed over to Nijo market in Sapporo first to get a feel of the place. It was a really small market, and not as cheap as I expected. There is still quite a selection of the Hokkaido specialties of crab, scallops, sea urchin and ikura as well as a smattering of restaurants serving up some donburis. I didn’t try any of the restaurants there though, and decided to go to the Curb market instead.
At least the shopkeepers there aren’t as pushy as the ones at Nijo market! Came across this restaurant almost immediately and decided to just go ahead and give it a try.
Here’s some pictures of the menu:
mmm yes, give me ALL the seafood!!!! *drool*
I ended up coming to this restaurant 2 times during my very short stay in Sapporo. So the pictures here are spread across two meals.
Ordered a giant scallop which came on a mini grill. They don’t grill it for you, you have to watch out for it yourself. At the smaller establishments at Nijo or maybe even at the curb market, you can request it grilled with butter or some other sauce (I had a giant scallop at the Nijo cooked in butter and it was so so good!). The scallop here came out just slightly overcooked. Not bad but not great.
And of course I had to have the sea urchin and ikura donburi. It was so good. However, it could have been better. Indeed it seemed fresh, the restaurant being situated right smack in the middle of a fresh fish market, but the sea urchin lacked the soft creamy texture that I love. This variety is more of the solid type of sea urchin. It would have been perfect if the sea urchin had slightly less form and more smooth texture (we all know that the less-than-firm types of sea urchin just equates to more of that delicious buttery flavor!). I believe that the uni sushi that I get at Daiwa Sushi at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo is way better, and that is comparing apple to apple since the prices are similarly in mid-range.
My cousin had the salmon, scallop, tamago and crab donburi. He doesn’t eat much raw fish (blasphemy!!!) but he enjoyed his dish. The scallops and crab were so naturally sweet. Now we’re talking 😉 Really delicious.
Cousin also ordered some grilled crab and salmon.
The crab was obviously quite plump and delicious but I never was that big a fan of crab. I like it best when its already peeled for me haha ;p
The salmon on the other hand had a lot of bones, my cousin had his job cut out for him picking the meat from the bones. I’d suggest to skip this dish.
I decided to be adventurous and ordered this crab dish:
It is juicy sweet crab meat simmered in some sake in crab shell grilled over a small fire. So basically at the end of the process you get crab meat in a broth made of some sake and the oh-so-sinfully-rich crab brains/guts. It was beautiful *eyes tearing*
but that was before the abalone came along…..
This tasted like heaven on a plate. I expected the abalone to be tough, but it was tender and perfectly cooked. Then it was bathed in this sauce… this gorgeous rich sauce that tasted as if it would be perfect on a steak but still goes well with everything else… somewhat like a mixture of butter and sake and something else. So utterly decadent, divine and just simply lip-smacking good. I was tempted to eat the whole thing by myself instead of sharing. This is the highlight of the entire meal. And to actually overshadow the uni, that’s no small feat.
Here’s a donburi from the second visit. It was mouth-watering and again brings tears of joy to my eyes. How can anything be so utterly beautiful *cries*. There’s sweet crab meat, briny ikura and uni and the clean akami all in one bowl. I love Hokkaido!
Yes, and another helping of that simmered crab meat in kani miso….
Absolutely beautiful isn’t it?
Yes I went overboard with the abalone. This time it came just a tad too cooked but still darn good nonetheless. That sauce!!!
Ended perfectly with a slice of Yubari melon (please don’t confuse this with Hokkaido melon, Yubari is in a different class). Filled with the sweetest melon juices and none of that tasteless crunch you normally have upon eating the ordinary cantaloupe you find everywhere else.
Check out the picture below, a slice of Yubari melon costs 580 yen whereas on the right, a slice of Hokkaido melon costs 380 yen. And yes there is a difference 😉
THe damage from the first day. Second day was way worse as I got a little too greedy with the abalone.
One of the places you have to visit when you’re in Sapporo. I wish I were there right now ;(