My family and I went out for an early Father's Day dinner Saturday night at Marumi Sushi in Plantation, recently named our Best Restaurant in Broward County. Dad was thrilled since it was only his second visit and he really wanted to try Marumi's fresh, whole fish again. For $1.20 an ounce, Marumi's owner/chefs Tetsu and Teru will allow you to select a whole fish and prepare it any number of ways for you. The results are surprising and often very creative.
The restaurant had a pretty extensive selection of fish available for
the weekend. There was striped bass, red snapper, tilapia, and
bronzino and two local offerings: strawberry grouper and pompano. We
nabbed the last two, which were done up a half-dozen ways
between them. The pompano alone, pictured above, had three variations
on one exotic and intricate plating. I numbered each section for easy
1) Pompano ceviche with red onion, cilantro, and cherry tomato. It was
marinated in rice wine vinegar for a pleasant, not-too-tart taste.
2) Usuzukuri, which is thin-sliced sashimi arranged to look like a
blooming flower. The thin cut accentuates the white fish's lightness
and delicacy and is typically dipped in ponzu sauce (soy lightened with
yuzu, a kind of Japanese citrus).
3) Thicker-sliced pompano sashimi was bolder and featured more of the
fish's firm texture. The slices were arranged on top of a shiso leaf,
which imparted some of its grassy flavor, and set inside a sail made
out of the pompano itself. After it was presented, the waitress removed
the fish's frame, telling us Tetsu and Teru were going to use it to
make a soup for us.
How did Dad like it? He went nuts for the pompano, calling it "some of
the best sashimi I've ever eaten." After we finished the sushi, Tetsu-san brought out a hulking cauldron of soup made from miso and the pompano's frame. Everyone was so full, but the scent of the mirin-enhanced broth livened with chunks of pompano, grouper, tofu, bean sprouts, and cabbage was enough to entice
everyone to try a bowl.