Ending up a two month visit to Japan, primarily in Tokyo. When l came l knew l was not a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, but said l could eat sushi 6 times a week. Well trip is almost done and my pre trip thoughts are pretty much on the money. Had a great yakitori, a few good ramen bowls, super okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, great conch sashimi in Okinawa and the best thing of all was unagidon at the farms in Chiba that was world class, but in general did not love the kaisecki meals that were very pricey and very subtle and do not eat fried food so tempura and tonkatson were lost on me. However, back to sushi, have eaten 58 times in two months and each time keeps getting better. The amazing thing is not that it was good, the amazing thing is it was never bad. Yes, some places were much better, but none were bad. Ate supermarket, stand-up places, conveyor belt places, 11 places in Tsukiji, great just get me an apartment there and l can come down in my jammies and fuzzy slippers and scarf down chutoro all day long. Had a few meals at the palaces and one was great and one found lacking
Dai San Harumi was awesome, best rice l have ever had, mackeral, wonderfully chewy clam, deep deep red magura even the tamago was excellent
Sawada did not work for me, all or most fishes were aged, cooked, marinated or messed with in some way that took their freshness away and made them less interesting.
In Tsukiji waited with all 3-4 hours for Sushi Dai, and it was wonderful, very friendly people. helpful, generous and fab fish, had a golden snapper and a monkfish liver that were both in top form. In addition their tea was perfect, must have drunk 8 cups.
Different day went to Daiwa Sushi, line moved far faster and was in in 40 minutes, but the reason the line moved so fast was the assembly line method of the place.Yes the magura was stunning but felt had to eat as though a watch was in someone`s hand and l was found lacking.
SushiBun had no line, great tuna in a myriad of forms, had collar there, never before or since.
People were welcoming. Here they do not seat you until all seats empty then everyone at once comes in, your order has to be placed before you get in, thus mostly sets.
Three other places with no name, at least to me also came up great, texture of fish melted on your tongue, every place, every time.
Also interesting to note that while products varied and portions did as well, but all seemed about the same price point, 3000-4000 yen. l learned that for me do not get the standard sets that most people get as l do not like squid or non-fatty fishes, or raw shrimp so l learned what l liked and that was all l ordered. If you saved a little on the set, for me it was lost as did not like some of the pieces served.
In Tsukiji there are a number of restaurants called Sushizanmai, part of a larger chain,one is just that, one is Bekkan. They are both in outer market and here you could eat like a sumo wrestler and still not have to rob a liquor store to get by.The owner is a chubby fellow who was there on 12/31 and posed for pictures with all the customers who gave him a round of applause. This morning, they had a chutoro special, thus with considerable regret l admit l had 10 pieces of chutoro, 10 pieces of albacore, and a few thises and thats and the total was under 3000 yen, a veritable steal, and melt on your tongue fish. l will miss Tsukiji, as it is supposedly moving shorly,but will miss more when back in states when will pay a lot for very mediocre stuff, and worse now know how mediocre it really is. As with Maryland crabs, Cotes du Boeuf at L`Ami Louis, and pizza in New Haven l have been spoiled and suspect will not look at sushi anywhere else in the same way again. Thus my loss and my gain as well. l will have to return.
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