The Food Chain

Luke Sung Gobbles Up the Monkfish Liver Sushi at Ino

Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Terry Chan of South Sea Seafood Village in S.F. told us he keeps going back for Luke Sung’s potato-wrapped sea bass at Isa. What’s been a favorite of yours recently, Luke?

Who: Luke Sung, chef-owner at Domo and Prime Rib Shabu, consulting chef at Isa
What: Monkfish liver nigiri
Where: Ino Sushi, Japantown, San Francisco
When: June, 2010

“I love Japanese food. And I really love the ankimo, monkfish liver sushi at Ino Sushi in Japantown. Ino-san steams the liver in its own form, a whole lobe of foie gras of monkfish, then he slices it and serves it over rice, much like a nigiri of hamachi or tuna. It’s lighter than you expect, and really delicious. There’s no sauce on it, and it’s just meant to be eaten with soy sauce — that is, his own personal blend that he makes in the restaurant. If you sit at the counter, he’ll serve it to you directly on the wood of the counter, no plate. Don’t worry, it’s clean.”

Ino-san (chef Noboru Inoue) responds:

“Monkfish, and monkfish liver, is very common as a winter dish in Japan. Here, in the summer time, it can be hard to find, but I can usually get it from my wholesaler, very high quality, and I keep it on the menu year-round. I’ve had it on my menu at Ino since we first opened in 1978.”

[Ed. Note: Ino has a large and loyal customer base, and the restaurant only seats about eighteen. So, be sure to make reservations if you plan to try the ankimo at 415-922-3121. And, as Tablehopper once admonished, don’t ever ask for wasabi.]

Luke Sung Gobbles Up the Monkfish Liver Sushi at Ino