Sep 27

Hamachi Carpaccio, inspired by a trip to Kaikaya By The Sea

in Appetizers, Japan, Japanese, LFM Videos, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Seafood, Side Dish, Travel

Fresh Hamachi Carpaccio

Kaikaya By The Sea is a small little seafood restaurant tucked into a corner of Shibuya in Tokyo that features seasonal Japanese-French fusion dishes.  We ate at Kaikaya for the first time a little over 5 years ago after a colleague of Mr. Fuji suggested we go there.  We’ve been going back at every possible opportunity ever since.  During my most recent trip to Tokyo we made our traditional pilgrimage to Kaikaya with some friends and ordered an assortment of our favorite dishes.

Kaikaya By The Sea

I was pleased to see that in the year since my last visit, Kaikaya had bought the neighboring building and expanded the restaurant.  It’s still small, but much better able to accomodate the crowds of people that frequent the restaurant.  The restaurant is cozy, and if you don’t like your dining companions, then you’re in trouble, because you’ll be dining elbow to elbow with them.  But this is part of Kaikaya’s charm.  The restaurant is packed with a quirky variety of seafood pictures and fishing paraphenalia, and guests have a view of the chefs in action thanks to an open kitchen.  Not only is the ambiance warm and inviting, but the food seals the deal.  You can taste the love, care, and pride put into every dish.  I put together a short video so that you could have a peek at what a trip to Kaikaya is like, followed by a recipe for Hamachi Carpaccio inspired by my trip.

One of our favorite dishes at Kaikaya is their Kampachi Carpaccio, the 1st dish we ate during our last dinner there.  When I came home I was going through “Kaikaya Withdrawals” so I decided to whip up a Fujified version of the Carpaccio.  Carpaccio is a dish made up of raw fish (or meat) that is sliced thin (or pounded thin) and served as an appetizer.  I had some gorgeous hamachi fillets from I Love Blue Sea that were perfect for the job.

Fresh Hamachi

Hamachi (“yellowtail”) is usually a fish to avoid, and thus makes a good stop on our ongoing Sustainable Seafood Tour.

Sustainable Seafood Tour

Despite its rich buttery flavor and texture, the hamachi industry is rife with problems such as parasites and negative impact on the surrounding environment.  There are four species of yellowtail farmed around the world, which further complicates the issue.  So basically, unless the fish in question has been approved by Greenpeace and Seafood Watch, avoid it.  I Love Blue Sea provides a domestic alternative—a species of hamachi called seriola lalandi that is wild-caught using hand lines off the cost of Southern California.  They deliver that same creamy buttery flavor and texture without the damage to the environment, or the possible risks to your health.  Phew.

Slices of fresh sustainable hamachi

Once you have your fish, the carpaccio is simple to make.  Slice the fish into paper-thin slices, arrange it on a serving platter and put it in the refrigerator to chill.  Then whip up a simple dressing using lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, basil, and chives and drizzle it over the fish, garnishing the finished platter with sprigs of fresh cilantro, and serve!  If you’re really short on time, you can substitute your favorite pesto for the dressing.  The creaminess of the fish tastes fabulous with the bright tang of the lemon juice and the sweet herbiness of the basil.  This makes a wonderful light appetizer or side dish to a meal.

Hamachi Carpaccio

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Hamachi Carpaccio

Makes about 4 servings

4 ounces thinly sliced fresh hamachi
juice of 1 large lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh cilantro, to garnish

1. Arrange the sliced hamachi on a serving platter and refrigerate.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic in a bowl. Stir int he basil and chives, then add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Drizzle over the fish just before serving. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro.


Kaikaya By The Sea

Address: 23-7 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone number: 03-3770-0878
– Lunch: Monday — Friday, 11:30 am — 2:00 pm
– Dinner: Open 7 days a week, 5:30 pm — Midnight (last orders, 10:30 pm)
– Making reservations is a good idea, and a necessity on the weekends.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiran @ September 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I love fish – seafood in total. But I am a little afraid to try raw fish. Seriously :D


Fuji Mama (Rachael) September 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

@Kiran @, I can understand that Kiran! The whole raw aspect is definitely a weird concept when you’re not used to it! But as long as you know your source and get it nice and fresh, then you’re good to go! Raw fish actually shouldn’t be “fishy” (just in case you were worried about that)! It’s very mild, and I find that people who say they don’t like fish many times end up loving sushi and sashimi!


Eleanor Hoh September 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I must say I’m hesitant to prepare raw fish myself too. I think I’d leave it to the experts. Thanks so much for giving us the tips on the different types of Hamachi. It’s so sweet and creamy as you said, love it.


Carina September 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Perfect timing! My boyfriend just caught 5 hamachi off the San Diego coast, can’t get fresher than that! I love raw fish. Do you have any tips about the best way to save/prepare the fresh-caught fish for sashimi? Like I’ve heard rumors that you want to avoid getting fresh water on it because that’s what gives it a fishy smell, but I don’t know if thats true.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) October 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

@Carina — I haven’t heard that about the water, but I’m no expert! As far as keeping fresh-caught fish fresh and preparing it for sashimi, I wouldn’t personally do it, because the best fish for sashimi are processed rapidly at sea and then frozen. Rapid processing removes the intestines before they have a chance to burst and allow bacteria and parasites into the body cavity. Freezing kills any parasites which might have lingered, rendering the fish safe to use. But the freezing process isn’t done in a regular home freezer, it has to be flash frozen. It is actually illegal to serve raw fish in the United States unless it has first been frozen! The only exceptions to this rule are shellfish and tuna (as a deep-sea fish, tuna is exceptionally clean and free of parasites).


Krista {BudgetGourmetMom} September 27, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I love it! It’s simply beautiful, Rache!


Allison September 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Oh, this sounds SO good. Hamachi is one of my favorites, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t know about the issues surrounding it! Thanks for providing information about the alternative. Do you happen to know if the more preferable species is commonly served in Southern California restaurants, since it’s caught here?


Fuji Mama (Rachael) October 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Allison — Unfortunately it often isn’t. Eating sustainably can be frustrating difficult, and require lots of asking questions and doing homework. Ultimately, sometime you may not be able to figure it out for sure. It all depends on how knowledgeable your sushi chef is about their sourcing.


Yuri September 28, 2011 at 6:30 am

Your Japan series make me so nostalgic!! I could have some sashimi or a plate of that carpaccio for breakfast right now. I never miss meat but sashimi is another story…


Fuji Nana September 28, 2011 at 7:21 am

I’m having to hold your dad back from getting a plane ticket, not to Tokyo, but specifically to Kaikaya’s. (Can he charter a plane to land on their roof?) Those tuna ribs…
Great video, and beautiful Fuji Mama Carpaccio!


Kaname September 28, 2011 at 8:57 am

I get some funny looks from people when I tell them that I don’t really care that much for cooked seafood but I will readily eat it raw. Like you said to Kiran it’s not as “fishy” when it’s served raw. And that plate of Carpaccio looks like a single serving for me!!!


Georgia Pellegrini September 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Looks wonderful, I used to make this often at the restaurant I worked at and it’s so delicate and tasty! Thanks for the inspiration!


Fuji Papa September 30, 2011 at 5:27 am

Oh Kaikaya…One of my very favorite restaurants. I’ve been there twice and your video just about put me on a food bender (I’m on a diet right now and it was about more than I could take). Your hamachi carpaccio looks wonderful. Yellowtail is one of my least favorite sashimis, but that preparation looks tremendous.


Jim debby January 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm



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