Wednesday, March 13, 2013

White Day: March 14th

In western culture, we all know about the tradition of Valentine's Day gift giving: flowers and chocolates to your sweetie, silly cards and candies to your friends. We are accustomed to seeing large pink and red heart displays hit retail floors as soon as they take down the Christmas decorations. Have you ever received a gift unexpectedly on Valentine's Day without one to give in return? Enter the Japanese "reply" holiday, White Day.

White Day was created around 1980 when confectioners in Japan saw an opportunity to create a "reply" holiday to Valentine's Day. White day, initially named "Ai ni Kotaeru White Day" (Answer Love on White Day), occurs one month after Valentine's Day, March 14th. Since women were traditionally expected to give gifts on Valentine's day, retailers decided that creating White Day would give men the opportunity to return the favor one month later. This not only affords retailers another sales opportunity, it also provides men a gentle reminder about the upcoming holiday.

Valentine's Day in Japan is a day for females to give the men in their lives gifts as an expression of their love, courtesy, or out of obligation. There are three levels of gifts given. Giri choko is chocolate given to men that a woman might have regular contact with; co-workers, superiors, teachers, etc. It is not uncommon for a woman to buy many boxes of this type of chocolate for distribution to the different men in her life. Honmei choko is given to the man that a woman is serious about. Handmade chocolate gifts are usually preferred by this recipient since they express thought, care, sincerity, and emotion. Along with the honmei choko, a woman will often purchase another thoughtful gift such as a necktie or other fashionable accessory. Tomo choko, a more recent development, is given to a woman's female friends and is usually chosen based on what the woman herself would enjoy.

White Day is the day for men to return the favor and give gifts to the women in their lives. Generally, if a male received a gift on Valentine's Day they are expected to return the favor. The term sanbai gaeshi (meaning "triple the return") is used to describe the rule for the return gift: the value of the gift should be three times the cost of the Valentine's Day gift. If the man does not give a gift in return, it is perceived that he is placing himself in a position of superiority. If the man returns a gift of equal value it is considered a way to say that you are cutting the relationship. Originally, only chocolates were given but now, popular gifts are lingerie, jewelry, accessories, and clothing that are wrapped in white packaging.

So, if you happened to miss Valentine's Day you can make it up to your loved one by celebrating White Day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Patio Update!

Now that it's finally warming up a bit more here in Austin we've decided to update our patio! We have added some small cocktail tables for your drinks and extra stools for a bit more seating. You'll now be able to enjoy the cozy spring night while relaxing with a cool beer before dinner.

Come by and check it out! We hope that this will make your wait before dinner more pleasant and perhaps even introduce you to some new friends.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Rys, arroz, ris, iris, rizs, padi, riso, rijist, rya, ore, kome. It all means one thing; rice! There are so many different kinds of rice used in cooking. Basmati, jasmine, short grain brown, long grain white, forbidden, wild, arborio, and the list goes on. Here at Kome, we use Japonica (Oryza sativa); a japanese short grain white rice that is grown in California. We use this rice for our sushi, yaki-onigiri, as well as our sides of rice.  Read on for a little insight into our rice making…

We first pour our rice into a very large colander with tiny little holes so as not to lose the grains. We rinse the rice two or three times, or until the water runs clean. This will get rid of starch that has been generated by the natural rubbing together of the grains, allowing for a slightly less sticky cooked product. Since we are using a short grain rice it will retain some of it's stickiness.

We then allow the rice to cook in our rice cooker. For our sides of rice and our yaki-onigiri, the rice is done. To make our sushi rice, there is more work to be done. We temper the rice with a rice vinegar/sugar mixture, adding it slowly and gently folding the mixture in to coat each grain of rice. The rice is then allowed to cool so our sushi chefs can comfortably handle the rice to make your sushi.

Interested in making your own sushi rice at home? Here's a very simple recipe following the steps we use in our kitchen!


1 cup Japanese sushi rice or short grain rice
1 cup water, plus extra for rinsing the rice
2+1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt


Wash the rice under running water for 1 to 2 minutes until the water runs clear. Take the clean rice and place gently in a pot, adding the water (there should be just a bit of water covering the rice).

Cook rice over high heat, stirring every minute or two, until the water boils. When your rice reaches boiling, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot. After about 6 to 8 minutes, check the water level - if there is no more water and only big grains of rice in the pot, your rice is ready. If not, check back every minute so as not to burn the rice at the bottom.

Remove the cooked rice from the pot with a *wooden* spoon. This is key because a metal spoon may damage the rice and can also react with the vinegar. Do not try to scrap any of the rice from the bottom of the pot - that rice is dry and burned so it will not taste good. Place the rice is a wooden bowl to rest.

Mix together the vinegar, sugar, and salt over medium heat until all the solids are mixed in. Pour the liquid mixture over the rice and gently fold to coat each grain.

Allow the rice to cool a few minutes at room temperature. (Do not put the rice in the fridge, it will damage the rice.)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


If you've been to Kome before, and managed to navigate your way around the building to our unique side door, then you've been treated upon entry to a lively chorus of "irrashaimase!" from the servers and the sushi bar. If being shouted at by a room of strangers gave you a bit of a start on your first visit, we apologize, we know it is not typical of an American restaurant.Irrashaimase means welcome in Japanese, and by shouting it to every customer we hope to convey the same friendly Japanese hospitality you will receive at every bar, restaurant,izakaya, and noodle shop in Japan.

As one of the few Austin Japanese restaurants owned and operated by a Japanese couple, Kome hopes to introduce our customers to lesser-known aspects of Japanese culture, and starting a blog seemed like a natural extension of that. On this blog, we will be posting Japanese etiquette how-to's (did you know you are supposed to slurp your noodles?), information on Japanese holidays (Girl's Day just passed, day-to-day goings-on at the restaurant, and more.

So, irrashaimase, welcome to Kome's new blog!