Do you ever walk into a restaurant and wonder... what should I order? Perhaps the cuisine is new to you, and you don’t know where to start. Well, those kinds of questions are just what Chef Hajime Sato wants to answer at his new restaurant in Clawson, Sozai Sushi.
Sato first learned how to cook from his Grandma, who he frequently assisted in the kitchen.
“She would cook everything from scratch,” explains Sato. “I want to make people happy, like my grandma made me happy.”
Now, when you hear sushi most people think of California rolls, or spicy tuna maki, but at Sozai Sushi they do things a bit differently. Yes, they still have tuna and salmon, but they offer so much more than that. Not only do they have specialties like sea urchin and ono, but he also has about 4 different kinds of tuna, and different cuts of the fish as well. It’s like going to a very knowledgeable butcher, but for fish and seafood.
If that all sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry, the recommended style of service at this restaurant leaves all the ordering up to the chef. It’s called omakase, a Japanese word that literally means, “I leave it up to you.” Chef Sato will start a conversation with you, hear what you like, what you don’t like, what you are interested in trying, and create a several-course meal to fit your tastes. He may even adjust the menu mid-course based on what you are finding you like.
The omakase menu actually has a few levels that vary in the how many courses they offer, and how unique or specialized the ingredients are that he will use to make the plates. A good introductory one is called Hama. It would start with something like their miso soup, move on to a small plate of raw scallops over bleached asparagus, then give you a taste of Hawaii with an ahi tuna poke bowl, then you’ll try some nigiri and get a maki roll, before finishing with another small plate, like fired halibut cheeks served over squash, before ending with a Japanese cheesecake for dessert.
What he serves will change frequently, however, because it is all based on what he can get in fresh and what’s in season. Chef Sato also makes it a priority to source his seafood ethically and sustainably. He doesn’t serve endangered species, like the Japanese eel, he works with fisheries that have low bycatch rates (when they catch fish other than the fish they are trying to catch), or he tries to buy the bycatch, and for farm-raised fish, he makes sure the fish is fed a good diet and they have ethical practices.
If you are curious about how a meal like this would actually work, watch the full video above. If you want to dine at Sozai Sushi, you will need to make a reservation. Sozai Sushi is located at 449 W 14 Mile Rd. in Clawson Michigan.