Hamachi Sushi is the newest kid on the block

If you walk along Cipriani Boulevard, in the myriad of restaurants and liming spots like Town, Jenny’s and Earth Bar you will come upon, believe it or not, some of the best bang-for-your-buck, made-to-order sushi Port-of-Spain may have to offer.

Hamachi Sushi has only been in operation for five months but already they are catching the attention and taste buds of young urban corporates looking for trendy meals and an easy ‘limer’ atmosphere. At the helm of the initiative is Kriston Lezama, owner and sushi chef who for lack of a better term, fell into the career.

“I was looking for a job after school and a friend who was at More Vino told me they were looking for chefs. I started working there training under him.”

Sushi is a far cry from a Software Engineering Degree at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) that Kriston, a CIC alum, was pursuing and excelling at, but he says the decision to leave the program of study was made based on his priorities at the time.

“I was a full-time A student, working nights but when chasing paper became more important than chasing education for some of the things I wanted, something had to give.

Lezama continued working as a sushi chef for companies such as More Vino, Eurasia, Sushi Express and Starlite but eventually felt ready to branch out on his own. He approached his brother with a proposal and the rest seems to be slowly becoming history. He shares the prime location on the Boulevard with another historical food stop that any true Trini from town should know, the famous Bobby’s Jerk which was destroyed in the 2015 fire that claimed the St. James’ landmark, Smokey & Bunty to which it was adjoined. For the Carnival, Kriston is adding specialty rolls to his menu. He says the rise in sushi eaters has also resulted in a wider demographic accessing the product and is seeing his business grow daily.

We, of course, couldn’t leave without some sushi Q+A:

What makes a good sushi roll?

The basis is the rice. You want to achieve a tangy vinegar and rice combination that still leaves a sweet aftertaste.

Are there different methods to make a good roll?

Gentle with your hands. Everything is dexterity and the blades aren’t dull so you have to be careful. You also must be caring of your knives. Constant oiling and sharpening but sushi is about secrets. The chefs keep certain personal practices (how they slice their fish or prep their vinegar etc.)

How can we tell when fish is good?

Colour and texture. If you press your fish and it doesn’t bounce back or it seems grainy or the colour is faded, it’s not good.

In this Carnival season, what tips can you give on consuming raw fish.

Make sure to eat any raw sushi with wasabi to kill bacteria.