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Entries in Sushi (3)

Tuesday
Sep292009

Sushi Mizutani - 鮨水谷

For dinner after Ukai Toriyama, we had planned one of the main highlights of the entire trip – Sushi Mizutani. One of just two sushi places to receive 3 stars from Michelin, Mizutani carried the weight of some incredible expectations. The other place that received 3 stars, Sukibayashi Jiro, was far more renowned when the Tokyo guide came out, and Mizutani was a bit of a surprise choice for the top honor. After reading various reports (special thanks to Exile Kiss), I was more interested by Mizutani than Jiro. Mizutani has a reputation for its no-nonsense, intimate vibe, and a truly personal experience with the chef. Also, the flagship Ginza location of Jiro apparently does not accept non-Japanese speakers, who are sent instead to the gaijin-friendly outpost in Roppongi (supposedly not as good). So Mizutani it was.

After our stellar lunch the day before at Kanesaka, I was very curious as to what the difference would be between a 2 star and a 3 star. In my experiences in France, I did feel there was a subtle difference between the two, but top French restaurants have a little more room for differentiation in cooking than Japanese sushi houses. I was thus pretty resigned to the fact that the sushi could not possibly be much better than Kanesaka, and tried to temper my expectations accordingly.

Mizutani is even more tucked away in the basement of an office building than Kanesaka was, requiring you to navigate through a tiny elevator and hallway before you see any trace of its existence. The little sliding door reveals just  1 tiny room containing a 10-seat counter and a small table in the back used more for coat storage than anything else. The bar is so small that Mizutani just serves everyone himself, with only one assistant visible behind the counter helping to prep ingredients. His wife and a couple others help with service and more behind-the-scenes prep. It’s a well-oiled but absolutely tiny machine – a staggering contrast to the scale of Western 3 star operations like Guy Savoy or the French Laundry. Think new iPod Nano vs. Apple 30" LCD.

Unfortunately, the first thing to happen after I sat down was that one of the young servers came over and said “no cameras.” I don’t think I’ve ever really posted about any place without pictures, but I think Mizutani merits discussion, so I’ll still go through what we were served. The dinner we got was, to our surprise, just ¥18,000 (about $200) – but I get the distinct feeling that the final price vs. what you are served is probably at Mizutani-san’s whim.

KAREI (flatfish) – Another pristine experience of this very light fish.

SHINKO (baby kohada) – Very rich and oily, with a gleaming layer of skin.

After 2 pieces, my dad, aunt Agnes, and I were fully into comparison mode already. Mizutani’s rice uses a more traditional approach, with a slightly less vinegary flavor and a brighter white color. We all decided we preferred Kanesaka’s rice, because of the way the grains felt so individually separated in the mouth. Mizutani didn’t quite match that, but it’s more a stylistic difference than a qualitative one. I can see myself flip-flopping quickly based on which version I ate last.

IKA (squid) – Perfect, clean flavor. Yet again, I was reminded that the humble ika is completely different in Japan than in America, perhaps moreso than any other sushi fish.

AKAMI (lean tuna) – A beautiful, deep red, with a smooth but meaty texture. Tastier than your typical maguro.

CHUTORO (medium fatty bluefin tuna) – Leaner than Kanesaka’s version, still delicious.

OTORO (extra fatty bluefin tuna) – Kanesaka had better chutoro in my opinion, but Mizutani’s otoro was a step above. The marbling was more evenly balanced throughout the entire piece, and this bite blended together with the rice into buttery perfection.

I should mention that Mizutani speaks very little English, and doesn’t really have any employees that speak it well either, so communication was a little more difficult. That didn’t stop us from trying. At the beginning of the meal, Mizutani was a little stoic and reserved, but at this point of the meal we could tell he was opening up a bit. It probably helped that we were watching his every move and eating every bite with the excitement of 8 year-olds opening really awesome Christmas presents.

AKAGAI (ark shell clam) – Crisp, bouncy, wonderfully fresh. On this and many others, the difference from Kanesaka was marginal at best – both used absolutely prime ingredients.

TAIRAGAI (pen shell or razor clam) -  Another clam, slightly chewier than the akagai, just as delicious.

KOBASHIRA (bakagai muscle) - Delicate little pieces, very close to Kanesaka’s. I really have to give a shout out to Kanesaka-san here, because it was at this point of the meal that Mizutani-san accepted us as serious sushi eaters. I anxiously blurted out "kobashira" as I saw Mizutani-san whip out his stock, and he gave me a total WTF face, clearly thinking in his head "how the hell does this English-speaking Chinese-looking kid know what kobashira is?" And I really had no idea what it was... I just knew the word because Kanesaka-san had told it to me about 30 hours earlier. From this point on, we officially had street cred at Sushi Mizutani, and he seemed totally pumped about serving us.

MIRUGAI (geoduck) - Another victim of low quality in the US, mirugai is something I rarely order in the US. This was the best specimen I've had.

SAYORI (needlefish) - This was served in a way I've never seen before. A strip of the bright white flesh and silvery skin was coiled up into a little circle, and topped with some kind of slightly sweet paste. No dice on a translation, but it was delicious. Really wish I had a picture of this one.

EBI (cooked prawn) - Not normally a fan, but this was very good. Meaty and flavorful, as opposed to the usual rubbery nothingness of ebi.

SABA (mackerel) - Excellent rendition, with a very light vinegar touch.

AWABI (abalone) - Simply perfect texture. Amazingly tender, no rough chewiness at all.

UNI (sea urchin) - Top shelf from Hokkaido, as expected. Nothing reminds me of the sea quite like uni.

ANAGO (sea eel) - A little better than Kanesaka's, I think. Very nice balance on the flavor, with just the right amount of sweetness.

TAMAGO (egg) - Okay, now this one was an absolute showstopper. It's sometimes said that tamago is the ultimate test of a sushi chef, as it requires tremendous amounts of preparation for an item that is usually the cheapest on the entire menu, kind of like egg fried rice with Chinese chefs. If that's the barometer, then Mizutani-san must be the best freakin' sushi chef in the whole damn world. His tamago is absolutely leagues about any other that I have ever tried. Light, moist, fluffy... it was nearly custard-like, with a more solid composition. Tremendous "essence of egg" flavor. Mizutani is worth a visit for the tamago alone.

At this point, he was basically wrapping up. My dining companions were clearly getting full, and I had already been double eating on behalf of my grandma, who ducked out a few rounds ago and got the tamago early.

TORO MAKI (fatty bluefin tuna roll) - Interestingly, Mizutani-san chose not to put any negi into his toro maki. It was different but delicious, and the quality of the toro really stood out.

The funny thing here is that he cut this into 8 pieces and gave me 6 and my dad 2. Of course, my aunt Agnes motioned that she was DEFINITELY still in for a round like this. So he jokingly grabbed one of my dad's 2 and gave it to her, instead of grabbing mine. I guess I am the Che family glutton. Ultimately, I had to concede and spread the wealth.

AKAGAI HIMO MAKI (ark shell mantle roll) - Never tried it in this form before, and it was quite unique and tasty. It gave the maki a bit of a crunch inside.

OTORO x 2 (extra fatty bluefin tuna) - By now everyone was really done, but after everyone egged me on I admitted I wouldn't mind another bite of toro. He gave me 2. It was awesome.

KANPYO MAKI (dried gourd strip roll) - He had one little final bite for us, and at the time we had trouble identifying it. He showed us these little long brown strips which he rolled into a maki and cut up. He didn't know the word and was having some trouble describing it. After tasting it, none of us could figure it out... it tasted like some vague kind of Japanese pickle - refreshing and tasty but unidentifiable.

He asked the 2 Japanese businessmen next to us in hopes for an explanation, but they didn't know - all we knew was it WASN'T any kind of eggplant. He turned to one of his backroom assistants, and thought we finally got a translation, but it turned out his explanation was simply "vegetable," which caused a laugh around the room. A few minutes later, he finally whipped out an electronic Japanese-English dictionary, and our answer was found. Turns out it's pretty common even over here in the US... I just never order it.

By the end of the meal, Mizutani-san had seriously warmed up to us. I'm predicting that after 1 or 2 more visits, he'll hopefully recognize me and like me enough to let me bust out the camera. Cross your fingers! At the end of the meal, he did offer to take a group photo for us. So here you go - instead of delicious food pics, you'll have to settle for some sushi-filled happy people named Che: dad, aunt Agnes, Grandma Che, and yours truly. Sorry it's not as mouthwatering.

And there was our second epic sushi meal. As expected, I didn't find Mizutani to be "better" than Kanesaka. I preferred the rice at Kanesaka, and most of the fish was about equal, but Mizutani had the edge with otoro. I wish I'd tried Kanesaka's tamago, but I guess they didn't serve it as a normal part of lunch. Mizutani's tamago was out of this world. I think I'll start calling it Platonic.

Though we didn't go to Kyubey on this trip, my memory of it doesn't match the meals we had at Mizutani or Kanesaka. The intimacy and personal interaction of the smaller sushi bars put them over the top for me, and reports are that food quality at Kyubey has gone downhill. In any case, the final takeaway is that top-end sushi in Tokyo is simply an incredible experience. I encourage everyone to try it. The value is amazing, and it's pretty damn hard to go wrong.

Wednesday
Sep092009

Sushi Kanesaka - 鮨かねさか

One of my goals going into this Japan trip was to evaluate the newly-minted Michelin Tokyo guide. On my last trip, Michelin had not yet ventured into the Far East. When the Tokyo guide made its debut in 2008, there was controversy over the ratings (as usual for any new city that Michelin enters), and questions arose over whether French guys could actually evaluate Japanese food. Despite the fact that Tokyo collected the most total Michelin stars of any city in the world (including Paris), many questioned whether the Japanese needed or wanted Michelin around. In response to the critics, Michelin reportedly changed its Tokyo team from 3 French inspectors and 2 Japanese inspectors for the 2008 edition to 5 Japanese inspectors and 1 French inspector for the 2009 revision. The result was 9 three star restaurants (trailing only Paris' 10) and 227 total stars (still tops in the world).

We were most curious to see how this played out in terms of Japanese cuisine. Old school stalwarts like Kyubey and Sazanka are not mentioned in the guide at all.

 

Sushi is my favorite food, and so we decided it was most certainly worth spending 2 meals to check out Michelin's choices. Our first meal was a lunch at Sushi Kanesaka, one of six sushiya that earned 2 stars. (Two earned 3 stars - Sushi Mizutani and Sukibayashi Jiro. We ate at Mizutani the next night, which I'll report on though without pictures.) I chose Kanesaka based on a few pics and good reports I found online.

Tucked away in the basement level of a Ginza office building, Sushi Kanesaka is a tiny, 14-seat establishment with a startlingly clean wooden counter. You'd never find it without looking for it, which seems to be a trend with these quality sushi joints. Kanesaka-san, who appeared to be about 35-40, was welcoming and downright friendly. Although one of his young apprentices was cutting our fish for us, Kanesaka-san constantly came over to check up and practice his English as well as his limited Cantonese. The place had a surprisingly open and relaxed atmosphere - there was none of the rigidity or formality that one might expect in a traditional sushi place. I enjoyed the pressure-free environment.

Sashimi/sushi and sushi-only lunches are offered at various price points, starting at ¥5,000 and topping out at ¥20,000. Prices rise a bit during dinner. We opted for the top sushi-only lunch at ¥15,000, and off we were.

 

SEAWEED SALAD - onions, green onions, sesameThey started us off with this lightly-vinegared seaweed salad. The thinly-sliced onions were bright and refreshing.

 

KAREI - flatfishAll it takes is one bite to realize that sushi in Japan is on a different level. First, the fish quality is impeccable. Karei, a flounder related to hirame which you find more commonly in the US, was bouncy and fresh. Second, and just as important, the rice here is a whole different ballgame. Kanesaka judiciously uses salt and akazu (a red vinegar made from sake lees) for his rice, resulting in a very gentle taste of vinegar and perfect texture. Here, more than any other sushi establishment I have ever been to, I could feel the separation of individual grains of rice in my mouth. It was astonishing.

Also, it's worth mentioning that rice was made and brought out literally a handful at a time. Every 2 rounds of fish or so, a tiny batch was brought out from the back and put into the rice container at the counter. You just can't beat freshness.

 

SHIMA AJI - striped jackShima aji, also known as striped jack or yellow jack, was delicious. Sort of like a cross between aji and hamachi, this was like a firmer, leaner version of your typical yellowtail.

 

CHEF AT WORKHere's a shot of Kanesaka-san's young apprentice in action - he had to be younger than me! But he clearly knew what he was doing. He's prepping a trio of tuna here. Check out the beautiful wood on the counter, and the raised cutting board.

 

BLUEFIN TUNA TRIOI thought you might enjoy this closer shot of the tuna. Check out that slab of otoro - how could you not get excited?

 

CHUTORO #1 - bluefin tunaThis was the first piece, the leanest of the three. Beautiful, smooth texture.

 

CHUTORO #2 - medium fatty bluefin tunaThe second piece was quite a bit more marbled, as you can see. I liked this one the best out of the three, as it struck the perfect balance of flavor, body, and oilyness.

 

OTORO - extra fatty bluefin tunaOtoro was literally bursting at the seams with butteriness. Total luxury!

 

IKA - squidIka is one of the things I rarely order in the US, as it often suffers from a chewy texture and fishy taste. I've always maintained that the first thing a sushi-eater needs to realize is that good sushi should never be "fishy." When someone tells me they don't like sushi because of the fishiness, I get all heated about it. It's a quality problem, not a sushi problem. So all you sushi-haters out there, keep trying it! Ika is probably the best example of the bad fishy sushi phenomenon which scares people away. At Kanesaka, the squid was served with just a pinch of salt, and had a wonderfully tender texture with clean flavor.

 

SHIRA EBI - baby white shrimpShira ebi, which I first tried at Gari in NYC, is one of my favorites. It's like a more delicate version of ama-ebi, and unfortunately I don't see it much back home.

 

AJI - horse mackerelAji, a perennial favorite of my dad's, was rich and oily. Served with a pinch of ginger between the rice and fish, and a touch of seaweed on top.

 

SABA - mackerelSaba, another oily fish. Kanesaka's version had a light, delicate marination.

 

KOHADA - gizzard shadSometimes translating sushi is pretty useless. Gizzard shad? Does anyone actually know what that is? Why not just call it kohada? Anyway, it's a small, shiny, herring-like fish, served with skin on. A nice littly bit of tang and slightly chewy texture.

 

AKAGAI - ark shellAkagai, a beautiful red clam, is another item that often suffers horribly due to low quality in America. The akagai at Kanesaka was pristine, with a bouncy, almost crunchy texture to it, and a subtle clam flavor.

 

AKAGAI HIMO - ark shell "mantle"The most prized piece of akagai is the himo, a little piece that connects to the main body. Yeah, it looks pretty savage. It has a nice crisp/crunchy texture.

 

KATSUO - bonitoKatsuo, most often dried into flakes and used for dashi broth, is also delicious as sushi. Leaner than tuna but intensely flavorful, the katsuo here was cooked slightly at the edges and left to sit in a soy/ponzu marinade for a little bit before being served. The narrow portion was particularly tasty.

 

KOBASHIRA - adductor muscle of bakagaiKobashira, which looks like little bay scallops, is actually the muscle portion of bakagai, also known as a hen or round clam. They tasted like firm little scallops. They must be in season, because we would later see them used at both RyuGin and Sushi Mizutani. Funny enough, learning about kobashira at Kanesaka earned me a lot of street cred with Mizutani-san the next day, when I was able to quickly identify it as he was prepping it. He was probably surprised that a gaijin like me knew what it was. Thanks, Kanesaka-san.

 

IKURA - salmon roeIkura is, to be honest, not one of my favorites. I often find it has been sitting in vinegar for far too long, with a sour taste that overwhelms. This version was tremendously delicate. Probably the best ikura I have tried.

 

UNI - sea urchinUni is probably second only to toro among sushi delicacies in my book. This perfect specimen from Hokkaido was creamy, sweet, and slightly briny. Top-notch.

 

SHAKO - mantis shrimpShako seems to be fairly common in Japan. It's usually cooked and has a slightly chewier texture than ebi.

 

ANAGO - sea eelAnago, the saltwater cousin of unagi, is another Che family favorite. Kanesaka's version was soft and flaky.

 

MISO SOUP - baby clamsThe arrival of miso soup signalled that the meal was starting to wind down. This soup had the cutest, tiniest little clams in the world.

 

TEKKA - tuna rollThey finished us off with a couple of maki - first this simple tekka roll, which had a very clean flavor to balance out all the exotic stuff we'd just eaten.

 

MAKI ACTION SHOTHere's a maki action shot - nothing too fancy going on here, just some straight up negitoromaki.

 

NEGITORO - fatty bluefina tuna with green onionMy favorite thing of all, negitoro. Buttery and flavorful, this is truly the epitome of sushi.

And there you have it. The meal at Kanesaka was incredible, and it was hard to imagine the difference between a 2-star sushi joint and a 3-star one. It really doesn't get any better. A couple of things to point out:

1) Value. This meal was ¥15,000 per head - about $160, tax/tip included. For the level of quality, that's ridiculous. You can drop $160 easily at many sushi places across the U.S. and not even come close to what we had here. I've still not been to Urasawa in LA, but I can imagine a meal like this costing much more. It's amazing to me that you can get some of the best sushi in Tokyo (and thus, surely some of the best sushi in the world) at such a bargain price compared to LA/Vegas/NYC.

2) Modernity, in a few senses. The rice is a little bit different than the truly traditional - with more grain separation and less vinegar. The intimate setting is open and pleasant, and lacks the strictness and rigidity that one might expect of the most traditional Japanese institutions. For this, I highly recommend Kanesaka to visitors. Kanesaka-san is extremely welcoming to foreigners and genuinely excited to serve us non-Japanese folks. Sukibayashi Jiro allows only Japanese into their main shop, and diverts foreigners to a secondary (and supposedly inferior) place in Roppongi. You'll see nothing of the sort at Kanesaka.

That's about it. It was interesting to compare to 3-star Mizutani (as well as former champ Kyubey), but I'll write about that more in the Mizutani post coming up. Kanesaka was absolutely top-shelf, and surprisingly easy to get in to. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a proper sushi experience in Tokyo (and really, that should be the #1 thing on anyone's list of to-dos in Tokyo).

Thursday
Jul202006

Kyubey Ginza - 銀座 久兵衛

kyubey.jpg

Our second dinner in Tokyo was one of my most anticipated meals of the trip. It was at Kyubey Ginza (another info page here), one of Japan's most famous and arguably best sushi restaurants. (Based on my very limited knowledge of Japanese romanization and my vague memory, I thought it was spelled Kyubei, but their little pamphlet said Kyubey, so whatever.) It has a few shops now in Tokyo, but the Ginza location is the original, established in 1936. Kyubey supposedly also invented gunkan sushi, the technique of rolling a layer of seaweed around sushi rice and placing Good Stuff on top, which is the way you usually find uni or ikura served.

I went to Kyubey once many years ago as a young teenager, and it was the most defining and epiphanic sushi meal of my life. It was at that point that sushi became my favorite food group, and my interest in all things gastronomic started to take off. To that very first Kyubey negitoromaki, I owe much.

Kyubey is tucked away to the side of the main Ginza avenue. It has a small, unassuming storefront that would be easily missed by the average passerby. Inside, however, is a 5 story sushi temple, with a maze of different rooms and sushi counters. Our party of 11 took up almost a full counter, with a Japanese businessman and 2 ladies filling the last few seats.

Immediately noticeable at Kyubey is the beautiful unlacquered wooden counter, incredibly smooth to the touch and pristinely clean (here's a view of the counter). The quality of the counter is something my dad taught me to look for in sushi bars a long time ago, and you won't find one nicer than the counter at Kyubey. We always joke about how long it must take to clean the soy sauce stains from our clumsy gaijin spills. Tourists need not worry though, as Kyubey is quite friendly to us, and there seems to always be at least one chef behind the counter that is very eager to practice some English. All of the chefs are very friendly and clearly good at what they do (action shot of toro nigiri, and another action shot of uni gunkan maki).

suzuki (sea bass) salad The first thing served when we sat down was this suzuki salad - small strips of suzuki sashimi with a touch of wasabi and some ponzu-type sauce. Very light flavor and a pleasant start to get the night going.

sea jelly Next came something I'd never tried before. We couldn't really figure out what it was exactly, but we think it's some kind of weird seaweed. The whole thing has a gelatinous texture, and the little things buried inside had the texture of a thick vermicelli. The whole thing had a very light sea flavor, but not much taste to speak of. We saw some of this stuff at Tsukiji when we went later. Can anyone identify it?

seaweed salad Next was a much more common seaweed salad with scallions. Dressed with some vinegar, this was like a leafy green salad for the sushi bar.

otoro nigiri We got started right away with some otoro. Like all fancy sushi places nowadays, Kyubey puts a bit of whatever sauce you need on your piece of nigiri before handing it to you, so you don't have to do any dipping yourself. One side effect of this is that the soy sort of covers the color of the fat; just believe me, there was lots of it. This toro was melt-in-your-mouth fatty and just plain delicious. The rice had just the right temperature and just the right vinegariness.

hirame (halibut) nigiri Hirame, aka halibut or flounder or fluke, was much leaner and lighter. Served with some finely chopped negi, this was the perfect refreshing white fish.

shimaaji (striped jack, or baby yellowtail) At this point, I turned off the flash on my camera. I'm still not sure what to do sometimes. It's hard to get good focus when the flash is off. Oh well, I hope the rest of the photos are alright. Shimaaji, we were told, was just perfectly in season. Like hamachi but richer and more refined, the piece was sliced thinner than a typical piece of yellowtail, but had a stronger flavor.

grilled toro nigiri Cooked toro is all the rage these days. I've had seared toro at a number of places, but this was the first time I'd seen it grilled. When it came out, my dad and I were both a little scared at how cooked it looked, but those fears went away when the thing simply collapsed on the tongue. Not burnt at all, the toro was as silky smooth as seared foie gras.

uni (sea urchin) gunkan maki The uni was truly spectacular - creamy, sweet, and everything in between. Not much else to say.

steamed awabi (abalone) nigiri Black abalone was in season too, and though we sort of ordered this by accident it turned out great. Extremely tender and delicate.

ankimo (monkfish liver) nigiri Like the foie gras of the sea, this version of ankimo had a relatively light texture and flavor. I think I prefer Ino's more intense foie gras imitation.

fried fish bone The fried vertebrae of some fish, this thing was kind of like a long dense chip. An interesting change of pace to munch on.

eel liver I hope I heard this right, because I've definitely never seen this before. This eel liver had a very strong, slightly bitter livery taste, and probably won't appeal to most people out there. I found it interesting, at least.

ika (squid) nigiri Nice, clean tasting, tender ika. I've grown more fond of this in the past year or so. It was served with a dash of salt, which was less overwhelming than soy.

aji (horse mackerel) nigiri A beautiful specimen of aji, both refreshing and very sea-flavored. The slicing of this was a beautiful sight.

anago (conger eel) nigiri Anago was delicate and flaky, with a nice bit of tasty skin. They also cut it in half to make it easier to eat. One piece was came with salt, the other with a sweet sauce. :)

pickled eggplant I guess the chefs thought we were finishing up now, and started giving us a couple veggie-type things. This eggplant had a pretty sharp tang - a little too strong for me, but others seemed to like it a lot.

daikon slices with shiso leaf and plum sauce This was something I'd never tried before either. The daikon and shiso provided a cool, refreshing feeling, but again the plum sauce had a bit too much tang for my taste.

negitoro hand roll Of course we were far from done. Here is the first of two delicious negitoro hand cones, with a filling chopped to the smoothness of butter and seaweed so crisp and fresh that the mere possibility of sogginess sits far at the back of the mind. They even do little cuts into the seaweed, dividing the roll into 3 ideal bites. Just awesome.

uni (sea urchin) gunkan maki People started to bow out by now, but some of us had to keep going and get a few seconds. I think this uni picture came out a little better.

otoro nigiri Round 2 of otoro was even better than the first - maybe they were pleased with us eating so much! I've always found it interesting that toro and beef start to look like each other as they increase in quality. The fattiness of this toro was incredible.

grilled toro nigiri Round 2 of grilled toro looked better than the first, but tasted pretty similar. I think the piece was bigger though because of the lighter hand on the grill, leaving less of the tuna melted off.

anago nigiri Anago round 2, also as good as the first. And again, better picture I think.

tamago nigiri Finally, tamago, my dessert sushi. They say that tamago is ironically the ultimate test of the sushi bar. It's usually the cheapest item on the menu, and yet it takes a lot of time and preparation to make, which means that often in the U.S. you find pre-made versions of the stuff. To serve a good tamago, a sushi chef has to spend a lot of time with little economic reward. Kyubey's passes the test. Countless layers create a soft, delicate texture, almost like a dense custard, all with a perfect subtle sweetness. And that was it.

With our party of 11, the bill came out to just over ¥20,000 per person, making it about US$200 a head. This was quite a bit less than expected. I had literally 7 toro items (3 otoro nigiri, 2 grilled toro nigiri, 2 negitoromaki), plus 2 or 3 uni and all the other stuff above. Some of the stuff pictured I had 2 of. With all that in mind, it was a pretty good deal. Then again, I did eat the most out of everyone, so the others probably brought the average down a bit. I must have been around $250 at least. Still, that's not a bad deal considering how much you can spend on sushi (in the US for example), and that Kyubey is the best of the best.

You can eat there for less, too. They offer omakases at a range of prices, and I think you can go in for lunch for a good deal. I feel like if we got a 20,000 yen omakase, I probably wouldn't have eaten as well. I just can't imagine them including that much toro in it... Still, with less people I think omakase would be a cool route to go. Every piece of fish we had was good, so I don't think you can go wrong at this place. Get there ASAP.