Our preparations are coming along nicely. Many staff will return from last season and amongst the new staff we welcome two Taiwanese to the team to help out with the increasing number of Chinese guests. Reservations are strong and I expect we will be fully booked most nights. Raw cost prices for some seafood items appear to be increasing (e.g. salmon/ ikura); but hopefully several others (oysters) will decrease.
This season we are hoping to take Ezo Seafoods to the next level by improving in the following areas:
HOKKAIDO SEAFOOD FOCUS
For a start, this season I plan to refocus on our mission to serve only the freshest local Hokkaido seafood. While most of our seafood has always been locally sourced, we have always catered to popular tastes and stocked several seafood that cannot be sourced locally such as black tiger shrimp, snapper and bluefin tuna. From this season, I will gradually phase these items out and will replace them with local alternatives. We will be emphasising live local crab - Hanasaki, Hairy Crab and King Red Crab as well as local shellfish - Asari clams, Tsubu sea snails, Surf Clams and more. By doing so I hope to build upon Ezo Seafoods' reputation as the specialist in local Hokkaido seafoods. Its the only way forward.
LIVE HOKKAIDO "TARABA" CRAB
To further improve quality of our seafood, we will install a second live seafood tank. Importantly, this will allow us to stock fresh live "Taraba" or King red crab. We will be the first and only restaurant in Niseko to do so. The tank will also allow us to take advantage of our experience in live seafood and of course the abundance of live seafood available at the Sapporo Wholesale Markets.
In addition, from this season we will start to recommend steamed, grilled or broiled fish preparations over fried preparations. We believe these are healthier and bring out the best in the flavour of the fish. The crunchiness of calamari or battered fish is yummy. And we will still offer these, but we will be guiding our guests towards the steamed and grilled preparations.
PHASE OUT BLUEFIN TUNA
This season we will phasing out Bluefin tuna, a popular fatty tuna dish with gourmet seafood aficionados. It is abundantly clear that stocks of the fish are severely depleted due to overfishing. We are committed to doing whatever we can to maintain healthy oceans and biodiversity and therefore wave bye bye to fatty toro tuna this season. I expect this will cause a little angst among some of our regulars but hopefully they will understand our reasons.
We will renovate our upstairs dining room which will improve the ambiance for guests. One of our guests kindly gifted us several ocean themed artworks which are looking forward to displaying. (thanks CJ!).
Tell us what you think of the new site -- hopefully it reflects the Ezo experience better than the old site.
This season we will also close each Monday. This will give us a little breathing space from the relentless pace of running Ezo during winter. Its is unfortunate that we have not been able to grow the business to a point that we can leave the operation in the hands of hired help. But neither Keiko (in charge of kitchen), nor I (in charge of sourcing) are prepared to give up control of our realms. It means we will never grow any bigger, but allows us to pursue excellence in the best way we know - hands on every day and night.
Signing off. Still a lot to do to have everything in place by Dec 1!
Hope to see you in Niseko this season!