By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Nov 03, 2006 at 10:17 AM
Nanakusa features live uni (sea urchin) through the weekend.  This feast of live sashimi began last night and runs until the last urchin is gobbled up. Popular in NYC sushi restaurants like Citarell’s and San Diego haunts like Sammy’s, but premiering yestreday in Milwaukee, live uni is buttery and melt-in-your mouth with just a hint of oceany saltiness.

Known for its creamy texture and dissolving sweet taste, live uni is considered a delicacy in Japanese, Korean, and Chilean cuisines.  The part you actually eat is the roe, or fish eggs, within the urchin’s center. Traditional presentation allows you to play with the creature’s spiny exterior while you’re eating your food.  Perhaps not for the faint of heart, but it seems in the food world, few people who truly love sushi are intimidated by a little thing like eating a live sea urchin. 

For sushi enthusiasts, live uni is a must-try, but for novice sushi eaters, don’t rush to the plate if you aren’t yet accustomed to the texture of buttery sashimi.  Sushi is as much, if not more, about the texture as the taste, so the live uni may be a shocker to the palate for sushi newbies.  In its fifth year of operation, Nanakusa is also a proud purveyor of hard-to-find in Milwaukee unfiltered sake (Japanese rice wine), which is well worth the stop if you aren’t too keen on eating live sea urchin.

Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to