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Continuing with my Japan Trip, on Night 2 I was lucky enough to get reservations for Sushi Mizutani. Going to Japan and being a major Sushi Hound, I had to try out "great Sushi" in Tokyo as a comparison for everything I've had before outside of Japan.
I found Sushi Mizutani thanks to Silverjay's mention of the Japanese Customer-driven Food Review Site Tabelog (similar to a Chowhound + CitySearch/Yelp). As of today (and when I was researching), Sushi Mizutani was the #3 highest-rated Sushi restaurant listed. I later found out it was also a Michelin 3-Star rated restaurant! (As a side note, Sukibayashi Jiro (the other Michelin 3-Star Sushi restaurant in Tokyo) ranked much lower on Tabelog (from customers' feedback).) So off we went to Ginza to try it out.
Sushi Mizutani is in the basement level of a tiny building off the main streets, a simple, humble restaurant (with no pretentiousness).
We walked in, and were immediately and warmly greeted by Mizutani-sensei himself, and his wife, who runs the front of the house. It's a small establishment, with 1 simple and clean Sushi Bar, seating up to ~10-12 people. That night there were 8 of us dining. We of course went for the Omakase-style dinner, allowing Mizutani-sensei to choose. Here's a rundown of the Sashimi and Sushi pieces we had:
* Hirame (Flounder): Served Sashimi-style, it had wonderful texture, simple and clean. The best Hirame I've had.
* Engawa (Dorsal Fin of Flounder (Hirame)): This is the first time I've ever had Engawa, and a nice hint at the variety and uniqueness of what was to come. Nice texture and flavor.
* Awabi Liver (Abalone Liver): Very unique and again, the first time I've ever had this. I normally don't like liver of any sort, but this had a rich, earthy taste that actually didn't exude the normal "liver-like" taste normally associated with it.
* Saba (Mackerel): I'm normally not a fan of Saba and the oily fishes, but Mizutani shows off his impressive knifework (and eye for picking fresh fish). The Saba was hands-down the best Saba I've ever had! Wonderfully *fresh* and not overpowering at all. It also tasted like it had *2* different types of textures (his knifework in cutting the Saba lent itself to a wonderful cut of the fish).
* Awabi (Abalone): Abalone usually can be a little tough and/or chewy or rubbery, depending on the quality, and even the best Abalone I've had before this was "crisp" but on the firm side. Mizutani-sensei shows off his expertise and focus on Shellfish: The Awabi was amazing! It was soft and had a wonderful texture... it was nothing like any Awabi I've had before, ever.
* Chutoro (Medium-fat Bluefin Tuna Belly): Very fresh and tasty. The best Chutoro I've had, but I've been spoiled by Ohtoro so I was anticipating that later.
We now started the Nigiri Sushi portion of the meal:
* Kohada (Japanese Gizzard Shad): Amazing. The best I had previous to this was at Mori Sushi in L.A., but Mizutani's was one step above.
* Ika (Squid): Ika is usually the step-child for Sushi at many places... at most places, Ika can be rubbery or chewy and just not appetizing. Not so here: This was one of Mizutani's showcase pieces: The Ika here is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! It's SO good. His Knifework shows through here as the Ika was literally CREAMY! *No* "chewiness" or "toughness" at all! It was melt-in-your-mouth creaminess! We were blown-away. Tied for my favorite of the night. (^_^)
* Maguro (Tuna): The standard piece and wonderfully executed here. Solid, fresh and smooth! No complaints.
* Akami (Special Portion of Tuna next to Chutoro): Another cut of fish I've never had before. Mizutani-sensei warmly explained what Akami was (he brought out a Fish Magazine with illustrations) and showed us that Akami was the portion right next to the Chutoro cut on the Tuna. It was wonderful and not as fatty as Chutoro, but richer in flavor than the regular Maguro cut.
* Ohtoro (Fattiest Cut of Bluefin Tuna Belly): Amazing. It was probably just a touch below Sushi Zo's Ohtoro, but only a touch. It was still very fresh and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. :)
* Akagai (Ark Shell): An amazing piece of shellfish! This is the first time I've experienced this and it didn't disappoint. Unique, toothsome (in a good way), and a good flavor and texture.
* Tairagai (Pen-Shell Clam): Another unique shellfish I've never had before! I have no frame of reference, but it was extremely fresh and tasty. Softer than the standard Mirugai, for example.
* Torigai (Cockle): Wow! This is another piece of sushi I've never had before. Mizutani-sensei explained that the Japanese call this "Torigai" because it looks like the beak of a bird (tori). The cut he presented to us was so well-done! It had a dual-flavor and dual-texture if that makes any sense. The flavor would augment and change from the first bite to the second.
* Mirugai (Geoduck Clam): The best Mirugai I've ever had.
* Sayori (Halfbeak / Needlefish): Prior to this, Mori Sushi had the best Sayori I've had, but Mizutani's is LEAGUES ahead of Mori's! His cut of Sayori was so sweet and fresh! My 2nd favorite of the night.
* Ebi (Cooked Shrimp): I'm spoiled by (and have a preference for) Amaebi (Raw Sweet Shrimp), so I usually look at the cooked version as "eh~." But for a standard Ebi Sushi, this was well-done and fresh. The Shrimp was lightly sweet as well, no complaints.
* Uni (Sea Urchin): Ridiculous. This was a perfect "100%" rating in my book, and it had a taste that was different from Nozawa's (which was the only other one to get a 100% once). Perfectly Sweet, Buttery, with NO hint of any "sea water aftertaste" that usually plagues Uni. My favorite of the night!
* Anago (Conger Eel): Fresh and wonderfully prepared (not overly sweet or sauced), easily the best Anago I've ever had.
* Tamago (Egg): The true test of a Sushi Master in many ways, and I can only say: WOW! Hounto ni SUGOI desu!~ COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS! I have NEVER had Tamago like this before! The cooked Egg was SO light and airy, so fluffy and lightly sweet... it could've passed as a dessert! It's not even remotely like any Tamago I've had at any other establishment.
Throughout the night Mizutani-sensei and his wife and assistant were warm and cordial, chatting with us and made us feel at home. In total, it cost us about ~$275 U.S. per person (including Sake). Mizutani-sensei is a true Sushi Master, with wonderful knifework and a specialization in shellfish (amongst other things). Sushi Mizutani is easily THE Best Sushi I've ever had in my life, eclipsing L.A.'s top Sushi bars like Mori, Sushi Zo, Nozawa, Sasabune, etc. It's simply the freshest fish I've had, and he's a warm and hospitable Sushi Master (which doesn't always seem to be the case with other top-rated places).
*** Rating: 9.7 (out of a Perfect 10.0) ***
(Ginza, Tokyo, Japan)
中央区銀座8-2-10 銀座誠和シルバービル Ｂ１Ｆ
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