Artful Flavors : 21-Day Aged O-Toro

Posted on: 06.02.2017

Chef Masa teaching the team his 21-day aged o-toro process.
Chef Masa loves to innovate. He’s always pushing his team to think outside the proverbial box to expand the boundaries of his craft—to make the unexpected an expectation for first timers and regulars alike. Recently, Chef sparked the creativity of his team (and the curiosity of his guests) with a 21-day aged O-Toro dish. Here’s a quick question & answer exploration of that dish.

WhaAged Bluefin Tuna in box.t does 21-Day Aged O-Toro taste like?

O-Toro (like any fish) builds flavors on its own when left to age. So the science behind the process is actually quite simple…just clean the fish well, keep it in the right environment, monitor and control that environment vigilantly, and let it do its thing!

Describe the overall flavor experience on the combination of flavors/ingredients used.

The nuances of the taste are tough to describe because everyone experiences it a little differently. But, across the board, I’d sum it up as unusually sweet and rich with a buttery texture and a simple complexity to the flavor. Aged O-Toro just melts in your mouth. It activates the umami receptors on your taste buds like nothing else can.

With the aging, we really let science take the lead in the process. We didn’t introduce any additional ingredients. But, we did keep a very close watch over the process exercising precise control of the temperature and humidity. Given time and the right conditions, the enzymes in the muscles of the fish naturally break down the proteins, fats, and glycogen, then convert them into amino acids and sugars.

What made/makes 21-day aged o-toro a success? 

Aged Bluefin Tuna at 10 daysMost people think that the freshest fish is ALWAYS the best fish. That’s just not the case. Some fish taste better served fresh. For others, the flavors and texture require more time to fully develop. This is such a little-known fact that when most people hear about our 21-day aging process they’re astounded. I think that surprise leads to a curiosity, which in turn allows us to really educate and connect with our guests–to share a Kaizen moment with them. That connection is what we’re all about. We strive to make meaningful connections with everyone who crosses our threshold. The simplicity of great food isn’t enough for some. We are excited to share our knowledge, craft, and skill to help deliver that extra “bite” of knowledge for those looking for it. 

How was aged o-toro received by customers?

Aged O-Toro has been very well received. Because of the time it takes to properly work through the process, aged o-toro isn’t available daily. But, when it is, it’s typically not available for long! 

Do you have any ideas for extensions/expansions of this item? 

Fishes all vary in the amount of time that they require (or can handle) for aging. We are planning to experiment and tweak the process with some of our more specialty items like our Tsukiji Market fishes. In some cases, we’ll add other ingredients to the aging process. In others, we’ll explore new ways to present and compose the dishes. All in all, aging and experimenting is a great way for us to ignite the professional curiosity of our chefs and push the boundaries of what’s expected. Just as importantly, it helps us educate our customers that Japanese Cuisine is so much more than the Maki they love and expect.

Chef Masa and the team will continue to push the boundaries of Japanese cuisine in Doral. Be sure to follow us on social to stay in-the-know!