Dishing with Chef Tim Archuletta of Ichi Sushi
Favorite item on the menu at Ichi Sushi?
Umi Masu Iridashi — Ocean Trout in our house-made broth. I love the rich simplicity of this dish. It’s a great representation of classic Japanese food.
The inspiration for your cooking?
My grandmothers first got me in the kitchen, because I used to love to eat as a kid! I wish I had all of those family recipes! In sushi, I trained under Kiyoshi Hayakawa, and he taught me traditional sushi practices.
Best thing you’ve ever eaten?
A Kushiyaki pork meal in Piss Alley in Shinjuku. The chef was seventy years old and took over after growing up in the restaurant under his father. The restaurant opened the year he was born.
Strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Abalone liver prepared by Shimo-San, a longtime sushi chef in San Francisco. We brought him a fresh abalone for sashimi, and instead he served us the liver lightly poached in sake. It tasted like the ocean and then some.
Restaurant you’d like to experience, but haven’t yet?
I’d like to go to Sukiyabashi Jiro in Ginza Station. Can you get me reservations?
Second favorite restaurant in San Francisco (after Ichi Sushi)?
Tie! The Blue Plate for Modern American food and La Ciccia for incredible Sardinian food and wine.
Favorite cookbook on your shelf?
Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji and Yoshiki Tsuji. I also have several cooking and sushi reference books in Japanese that I use all the time.
Kitchen gadget you couldn’t live without?
My Japanese knives. The one I use the most is seventeen years old.
An ingredient/dish/meal that makes you swoon?
Tantanmen Ramen — It’s my favorite. It’s a spicy miso ramen derived from the Chinese Dandan noodle dish.
Favorite city/region/country for eating (and drinking)?
All of Japan. You can have an amazing meal anywhere at a reasonable price.
Chef Archuleta’s Shiso Pesto Somen Salad
4 oz. somen noodles
5 bunches shiso leaves
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 oz. yuzu juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Bring two quarts of heavily salted water to a boil.
Add noodles and stir once, then leave to cook until al dente.
Strain and then plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool.
Strain again and set aside, refrigerating until use.
Combine shiso leaves, oil and salt in a blender. Pulse until smooth.
Dress noodles with shiso pesto, then mix in yuzu juice.
Serve either on plates or in a big bowl, family-style, garnished with lemon zest.