Pittsburgh's 1st Annual Toro Fest
Before we tell you all about Pittsburgh’s First Annual Toro Fest, may be we should explain what toro is. “In Japan, a blue fin tuna is graded by the quality of the cuts of meat which can be obtained from it, particularly the prized toro, the fatty belly of the tuna…While sushi uses many different types of tuna, including yellow fin and big eye, true toro is only taken from blue fin tuna. Toro is divided into grades which are distinguished based on the marbling of the meat, much like in grading beef. The most valuable toro, otoro, is from the underside of the fish close to the head.” (Source) This week the folks at Fukuda will be celebrating all things toro, or as they call it, “the filet mignon of fish” with unique events every day.
We first met our fishy friends at Fukuda when there were still operating out of AVA Lounge during their Sushi Sake Sundays. Before they opened their brick and mortar restaurant in Bloomfield in October of last year, Fukuda was dishing out delicate sushi treats and drinks during Steeler game Sundays. Now located on Liberty Avenue, the restaurant is truly dedicated to authentic Japanese sushi and the owners are quite knowledgeable on the subject. Each meal is a work of art at Fukuda, so we’re pretty geeked to see what they have in store for us.
According to an interview with the Post-Gazette, owner Hoon Kim explained his inspiration for this first time festival, “Many people have seen whole hog butchery and are familiar with nose-to-tail cuisine. We thought we would show something similar when it comes to fish, especially this one that’s so worthy of celebration.”
Here’s a full schedule of events to check out during this fishy fest:
Today The festival kicks off with a Whole Bluefin Tuna Cutting Demo. Hurry up and head down to Marty’s Market in the Strip District today from 1-4PM, so you can see for yourself how to harvest this precious piece of fish. Afterwards, they’ll have plates available for sale of the freshest sashimi (and other dishes) straight from the fish to all the attendees…yum!
Thursday The ancient art of bonsai, indigenous to Japanese culture, has a contemplative and meditative nature. There is a precise art form to growing and trimming the trees, which requires discipline and effort. At the same time, the bonsai serves as a meditation focus for viewers. Learn this ancient art on Thursday, December 12th from 5-6PM at Fukuda…for free!
Saturday After you learn how to cut the fish, you’ll need to learn how to use it. From 3-5:30PM, Chef TJ will be hosting a Sushi Making Class at Fukuda. Tickets are $55 per person and only 10 spots are available so make reservations in advance!
Sunday By now you’ll have learned to walk the walk, so it’s time to talk the talk. Fukuda will be offering Japanese Language classes for FREE between 3-5PM.
Monday Toro Fest ends with a No Menu Monday event at Bar Marco. No Menu Mondays typically hosts local innovative chefs preparing unique meals on a day Bar Marco’s kitchen is closed. This No Menu Monday will feature dishes by Fukuda.
For reservations or questions about any of the festival events, contact Fukuda at email@example.com.
After a fun and educational week of Japanese culture, you just may find yourself…turning Japanese!