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Evanston restaurant to host cutting show of 200-pound bluefin tuna

Sea Ranch Sushi in Evanston says the seasonal fish is tastiest during the summer.

Sea Ranch Sushi in Evanston
Provided photo

Sushi fanatics: a big day is approaching.

On Aug. 31, Evanston’s Sea Ranch Sushi (518 Dempster Street) will be cutting up a 200-pound bluefin tuna for all to see.

The cutting show will be at the restaurant and is open to the public. Chef Hidemi Ikeda will begin cutting at 12 p.m. Guests will be able to observe the process of cutting a 200-pound tuna and — on a first-come, first-serve basis — try a sample, too.

After the show, Sea Ranch will have a special menu featuring the freshly cut bluefin, in everything from rolls to donburi to nigiri. The special will run for as long as the bluefin is available — probably for two days, said restaurant manager Keiko Thomas.

The Evanston restaurant will also be selling individual cuts of the bluefin. Prices will vary, but Thomas said that the fattier the cut, the pricier. Otoro, for instance, is an especially fatty cut, and probably will be priced higher than most others.

As the sole chef who will be cutting the bluefin during the Aug. 31 show, Ikeda said the bluefin is “more artistic” to cut than other fish.

And after all, the chef explained, sushi is always better fresh — and what better way to serve fresh sushi than to cut up the very fish in front of the customers’ eyes?

The bluefin is also a “very special” seasonal fish that’s “very tasty” during the summer season, Ikeda said. That’s why, said Thomas, “this is the best timing to have our show. ... [The bluefin] is tastiest this time of year.”

Buying and cutting a 200-pound bluefin tuna is no casual feat for Sea Ranch. The restaurant did its first cutting show in 2016 — to a surprising turnout.

“We didn’t expect it,” Thomas said, “but it was really popular, and ever since — over the three years — we’ve been asked when we’re hosting another one.”

In 2016, there were “around 20” attendees at their show, but Thomas hopes for not only a greater turnout this time around, but also to draw different guests.

“We want to invite more new customers and bring new people to Evanston, so maybe other businesses will be happy about it too,” said Thomas.

Hopefully, she continued, “we can contribute to the community a little more, and invite new people who aren’t aware of our tuna” — yet, that is.