Finding inspiration: Chef Tim Archuleta of Ichi Sushi

The most flavorful, satisfying food is often the simplest, according to Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar Chef Tim Archuleta.

That's why for Archuleta, the source of most inspiration comes from one of Ichi’s signature dishes — uni masu iridashi, a lightly battered and fried ocean trout in a homemade dashi broth. It’s the dish, Archuleta says, that represents the message the restaurant wants to send with its food.

“This dish is a great example of what we do here: taking Japanese traditions, techniques and flavor profiles and bringing them to the American palate,” Archuleta says. “We consider ourselves a teaching restaurant in that we try give customers as much exposure to Japanese food as we can.”

The chef claims that Japanese food has become a little too “California-ized,” with too many sauces covering the flavors of the fish and too many competing flavors competing on a plate. He argues that some things have gotten lost in translation.

“We actually try to refrain from serving things like soy sauce and wasabi when not needed,” he says. “We focus on elevating the fish and the fish flavor — not hiding the fish, ever. The fish and the rice are the stars.”

When in doubt, Archuleta says, stick to the basics and a beautiful dish will emerge. Find his recipe for uni masu iradashi here.