The call came at 8:30 a.m: √¢‚Ç¨≈ìMrs. Baristanet, it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Ho Yung at Aozora. We just received a 350 pound bluefin tuna today from South Africa, and you might want to come down and take a picture.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù Never one to miss a photo op, I agreed.
Nelson Yip, Executive Chef, asked where we√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢d like to do the photo shoot. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìHow about up here on the sushi bar? (What was I thinking?) He opened the walk-in fridge where I saw a giant silvery grey 6 foot something fish, nearly three times my size, in a coffin-like crate.
Ho Yung, Aozora√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s owner, sat us down for Sushi 101. Bluefin is the aristocrat of tunas. This beauty was caught at 200 pounds and fattened up at a South African sea farm for market until it reached a massive 420 pounds. That’s when Ho got the call. $8,000 dollars later, this bad boy was being airlifted to Montclair via Newark. It took 4 people to carry him into the kitchen.
He says the quality is guaranteed by analyzing a core sample of the fish. Ho usually buys 4 of these guys a year, and a lot bigger √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú up to 600 pounds. But because it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s the height of bluefin season – when the fat build-up makes for better tasting sushi and sashimi – he couldn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t let this “little” one get away.
We went back the next day to see what became of our fishy friend, and this is what we saw.
Baristaville customers like to order “Tuna Madness√¢‚Ç¨¬ù √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú a meal of all tuna sushi, sashimi, maki,
and tartare artfully prepared by the skillful hands of Chef Nelson Yip. Restaurant diners, from as far away as Atlantic city, are chowing down about 70 pounds of the fish a night, says Nelson. ..407 Bloomfield Avenue, 973 233-9400.