According to recent reports, bluefin tuna schools are this century’s version of the bison herd: Their luscious red flesh remains extremely popular with sushi diners worldwide — so much so that overfishing has pushed Pacific bluefin stocks to a 96 percent decline since the 1950s. Their extinction as a food source is edging towards reality.
But when the various forms of tuna — toro, otoro, maguro — are so synonymous with Japanese cuisine, is it even possible for sushi to move beyond its cornerstone fish? The science indicates that consuming sushi in a way that’s sustainable has shifted from a nice idea to an absolute necessity in 2013. Bun Lai, chef and owner of Miya’s Sushi restaurant in New Haven, Conn., has carried that ethos from well-meaning notion to practice. He redefines what it means to be a sushi chef by insisting the most popular item should stay off the menu. In tuna’s place, he’s simultaneously turning invasive species into table fare and nudging sushi back to its freshwater origins.
Here, Bun Lai shares his secrets and talks about the ... Read more