From STAFF REPORTS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL RYAN
Published: Monday, April 22, 2013 | 7:08 PM
Sayuri Tachibe is proud to announce the official opening of Osawa, a uniquely inspired Japanese restaurant featuring Otsumami, Shabu Shabu, and Sushi in Old Pasadena on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 11:00 am. With a focus on traditional cuisine and the revered hospitality of Japan, Osawa will emphasize carefully purveyed ingredients prepared with skill and innovation in a welcoming setting.
Sayuri, who joined the Chaya Restaurant family as a hostess at Chaya Brasserie in 2002, later to become a lunch manager and eventually meet her husband, long time Chaya Corporate Executive Chef, Shigefumi Tachibe, has a genuine respect for what can happen when modern ideas fuse with more traditional ones. A former model and flight attendant, Sayuri also has a high regard for the Japanese tradition of Omotenashi, or hospitality: the exquisite Japanese art of welcoming and serving guests. “Omotenashi is a word you have to translate with your heart.” says Sayuri, “It means that we truly care about our customers and strive to provide the right amount of personalized service at the right time.”
Sayuri is proud to introduce as her Chef de Cuisine, Chef Norio Yoshikawa, a 30-year veteran of the Japanese kitchen, recognized for his work at both Katsuya and Kagaya in Los Angeles. Norio brings to Osawa well-honed skills and a genuine desire to make guests feel welcome and relaxed. Norio’s inspired menu at Osawa begins with Otsumami, Japanese tapas-like food, both raw and cooked, customarily served with alcohol. Osawa’s Otsumami is the kind of food diners will savor with friends after work, or before a movie, with a flight of sake or beer from Osawa’s eclectic list of sakes, beer, and wine.
A few of Norio’s standout cooked Otsumami innovations include the Shishito Tempura Stuffed Spicy Tuna with Sweet Soy and the Grilled Hokkaido Scallop with Nori Pesto Butter. Jidori Kara-age with Shiso Balsamic Ponzu is an update on the bite sized fried chicken typically seen on Izakaya menus, as is the Agedashi Tofu (deep friend tofu in broth) with Tomato and Ginger Dashi Broth. The careful consideration for ingredients is evident in every Otsumami item, and diners are encouraged to expand their palettes with offerings such as the Tender Beef Tongue and Furofuki Daikon with Shaved Kelp, or the Seafood Cigar with To-Ban-Jan Mayo. At the top of the raw Otsumami menu is King Salmon Ceviche with Yellow Chili Lemon Soy, followed by an Ahi Tuna Tataki with Avocado, Popped Wild Rice and Sesame Ponzu.
Sayuri and Norio are particularly proud of their sophisticated and fresh Shabu Shabu menu. With Norio at the helm, this is not your boiler-plate shabu shabu experience. Each ingredient for this otherwise customary fare has been carefully cultivated, such as the Kurobuta Pork, a distinctly rich white meat selected for its marbling, as well as the USDA Prime Rib Eye and Market Fresh Seafood. For a lusher, more opulent shabu shabu experience, Osawa will offer Saga Beef, one of the highest grades of Wagyu beef being produced in Saga prefecture in Kyushu, Japan, popular for its fine marbling and sweet rich flavor. Accompaniments like the Ponzu and Soy Sauces are all made in house, and the Sesame Sauce in particular, made with over 30 ingredients, will give a burst of pungent flavor to every luscious bite.
Osawa’s Sushi will be an equally exquisite experience utilizing only the freshest seafood available each day. Carefully cultivated ingredients prevail here too, such as Norio’s choice of Akasu(Red Vinegar), for his sushi rice. “Due to the long processing time, Red Vinegar is more rare and expensive,” says Norio, “but it gives the rice a sweet fragrant flavor that balances perfectly with the fish.” Notable Sushi items include the Ahi Tuna, the Unagi, and the Santa Barbara Uni. Amongst several rolls that should not be missed is the Osawa Dragon Roll, filled with spicy tuna and topped high with cucumber, eel and avocado.
The lunch menu may be the hidden gem at Osawa. The Kurobuta Pork Ginger is a marinated sliced pork with caramelized onions in a ginger sauce, served alongside organic cabbage and Koda Farms 50% polished heirloom organic brown rice. Known for its delicate flavor and health attributes, this lightly textured rice has been produced in California’s Central Valley for over 80 years. Cold Tsukemen Udon Sesame Sauce will be an experience unto itself. Tsukemen, literally meaning “dipping noodles”, is accompanied by cucumber, kale, daikon, and kaiware, and dipped, bite by delicious bite, in a zesty sesame sauce. Considered the ultimate comfort food, the Japanese Home Style Beef Curry Rice is made from a curry consisting of 25 kinds of spices and served quite pleasingly “gravy style”.
In keeping with the subtle art of Omotenashi, Sayuri and Chef Norio will seek to personalize service for both the experienced diner and those new to Otsumami, Shabu Shabu, and even Sushi. So, diners should not be astounded here when they are not provided with a fork. The name shabu shabu comes from the sound you make as you gently swish your chopstick-held morsels of thinly sliced meat, vegetables, and noodles in the steaming broth. This is one of the many quintessential traditions being upheld at this particularly modern Japanese restaurant.
Osawa will be open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and for dinner on Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and on Sunday from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm. For more information or reservations, please call Osawa directly at (626) 683-1150.