Raw year abroad

illustration By mark stivers

Akebono II

4960 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95822

(916) 731-8288

For many, eating raw fish is a triumph unto itself. Graduating from sauce-with-side-of-shrimp tempura and avocado rolls to a spicy tuna maki can be a “college semester abroad in Europe”-style signifier of worldliness, one of many landmarks on the path to becoming a full-blown foodie. But it’s all too easy to get stuck on the sashimi sampler. It’s like Mama always said: There are, quite literally, plenty of fish in the sea. But what unfamiliar fish to choose? When in doubt, trust the sushi chef. Jimmy at Akebono II (4960 Freeport Boulevard) recently steered me toward ocean trout, also known as steelhead trout. This is an excellent starter fish for those most familiar with tuna and salmon sashimi. Its flesh is a bit of a salmon doppelganger (albeit light pink) and shares its creamy consistency, but tastes of the milder, richer flavor of a nice cut of tuna belly. Next time you’re out to sushi with friends, impress them by ordering the ocean trout. Then break into the “Royale with cheese” spiel.