Taste 06.06.19

Tamotsu Suzuki | Crystal Fish

Teriyaki is just a sauce – a marinade of four or sometimes five ingredients, and so fundamental the word is easy to overlook on a menu of nigiri, maki and sashimi. In fact, “teriyaki” doesn’t even appear in the heading of Chef Tamotsu Suzuki’s sesame chicken at Crystal Fish.

Yet a dip in the sauce takes pieces of tender fried chicken into an almost empyrean realm – an earthiness confining both bitter and naturally sweet notes with pricks of ginger over which drifts a smoky haze. A faint streak of citrus peeks through.

It’s a deft show of soy and mirin. The sesame is almost too timid, but here and there a nutty calm eases through.

But this is a chicken dish, and despite the teriyaki-induced reverie, the crackle of that golden halo brings you back to the mild, juicy pieces of breast meat.

Crystal Fish also lists teriyaki dishes – teriyaki refers to a method of cooking – on the menu. And these may also draw attention away from the sushi menu (even though Crystal Fish often receives best sushi nods).

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But their sesame chicken is a great use of the extra sauce.

CRYSTAL FISH, 514 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 649-3474, crystalfishmonterey.com

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(1) comment

Rob Williams

This food writer is the most overwrought, long-winded, pretentious writer I've had the displeasure of reading. Dude, simple and straightforward is better than overblown and contribed. Maybe you should read this: Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power by William Brohaugh.

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