Shop 3, 53 Racecourse Road, Hamilton
In my old age, I've developed a taste for sashimi that I could have never predicted as a child. I used to balk at the thought of any type of fish, even the battered variety. Now, I can guzzle the raw stuff by the bucketful.
After I wrote about the ace sashimi sesh we had at Sakura in Runcorn, my pal Mochi recommended that I try Hosokawa. When she mentioned that it was on Racecourse Road, I recalled a small Japanese eatery there that I'd walked past many moons ago. I filed that away for future consideration.
A couple of weeks ago, we did make it to Hosokawa. The restaurant is easy to miss if you're not looking out for it because it is very small and understated. Regardless of that, it was nearly packed and we weren't able to get a table (the few empty ones left were reserved) but we were happy to sit perched up at the bar.
I say 'bar' but it was really a sashimi cutting station. I actually preferred sitting there over the regular tables because we could watch the master at work. The slabs of fresh fish sat glistening in jewel tones. It was mesmerizing.
Marc and I ordered an array of food. The sashimi platter was an obvious choice. We also asked for yakitori skewers, beef tataki and a basket of tempura.
The beef tataki arrived first. We were really hungry at this point and just dived straight in, nearly obliterating the entire plate in a few mouthfuls. The beef slices were thin and very tender, lightly marinated in a sweet soy dressing. I thought this was a great start to the meal.
The sashimi platter came next. There was a stunning selection of fish, scallops and octopus, as well as something salty and rubbery that we were unable to identify. I normally like salmon sashimi best but the tuna here was phenomenal. It had an amazing texture that I found irresistable. I would gladly eat this stuff every day if I could.
There was a good range of veggies and giant prawns in the tempura basket. I liked the tempura pumpkin and eggplant best, since they are two of my favorite vegetables. The batter was light and crisp. The dipping sauce was also very delicate. I would have preferred more saltiness there.
Our last dish was the yakitori. Although they may sound simple, I thought these were outstanding chicken skewers! Often with skewers, the meat gets dry because the pieces are so small. Here, they were juicy and had a subtle charred flavoring. The marinate was lovely too.
Needless to say, I loved Hosokawa! All the dishes were good but the sashimi was exceptional. It was definitely of a higher grade of produce than what is normally seen in Japanese restaurants. The service was so friendly and I truly enjoyed seeing the sashimi chef at work.