WOW. AMAZING. INCREDIBLE.
What am I talking about you ask? Nothing special... JUST THE MOST INCREDIBLE SUSHI EXPERIENCE EVER!
A group of 5 of us (some regular 'hounds from this board) had the good fortune to have dinner on Wed night at Ginza Sushiko... and it really was that good.
We were served a very wide variety of offerings, both traditional and new, and this can't be stressed highly enough, the freshness and quality of the ingredients were the best I've ever had. Amazing. The talent level of the sushi master was as perfect as you can get. Truly artistic. Enough babbling... here is a list of the food we ate...
- Squid (VERY FRESH) coated with a puree of spring vegetables
- Chopped Toro with Caviar and minced chives (perfect Caviar)
- Japanese Kyushu Mackerel Ceviche w/spicy sprouts
- Spring Vegetable tempura
- Mixed Fugu (Blowfish) salad with raw Fugu, Fugu skin, Fugu liver and Fugu intestine on a bed of shoots, greens and sprouts... REALLY INCREDIBLE. NOTE: This is the last week of Fugu season, and they now have farm raised Fugu with no toxins, so not quite the adventure it was before.
- Risotto with Uni, Fugu Sperm Sac, and Black Truffles - I know, one of the ingredients sounds a bit odd, but it was SO GOOD. The richness of this dish was awesome.
- Deep Fried Fugu - I believe it was near the "wing" or fin of the fish... the flesh was very firm, a little rich, and very white, not too flaky.
After this course came an onslaught of nigiri. Rather than give umpteen details and overused adjectives with each one, let me say that the ingredients were the freshest and most artfully prepared that I've ever had, and really done PERFECTLY. I've also tried to list them by their Japanese names (the ones I know, sorry for any errors, spelling or otherwise). Here they are:
- Toro nigiri
- Tai (Sea Bream) nigiri
- Amaebi (Raw Shrimp) nigiri
- Kohada (Japanese Spotted Shad) nigiri
- Uni nigiri
- Orange Clam nigiri
- Anago (Sea Eel) nigiri
- Grilled Toro nigiri - Wow... tasted like good beef. Amazing.
- Grilled Shitaake Mushroom nigiri
- Cut Roll w/kelp, mackeral and rice
- Unagi (Freshwater Eal) nigiri
- Chu-Toro nigiri
- Grilled Scallop nigiri
- Awabi (Abalone) nigiri
- Cut Roll w/Toro
- Hand Roll w/shiso, toasted sesame and sour plum sauce
As you can imagine the food was amazing. Yours truly actually had a couple of additional pieces (my dining companions thought me a bit insane), so we left pretty stuffed with good fish. I really can't stress enough how great this meal was.
On a sad note (for us in LA), it was confirmed that Ginza Sushiko in LA will be closing after it's final day, April 12, 2003, and plans to open next to the French Laundry in NYC at the AOL building sometime around October 1, 2003... you LUCKY New Yorkers!!!! Jim Leff - you've GOT TO TRY THIS PLACE when it gets to NYC.
Prices were a bit steep, but not as much as you'd think for this much top flight sushi.... around $325 per person before tip, I think we were given a pretty good deal, especially considering that if you add Fugu, the prices I've heard in the past were in the $500 range. Clearly not a bargain basement place, but if you can afford it, DEFINITELY a must try.
The place is very small, 10 or 11 seats at the sushi bar, and one small room with a 4 top. The sushi bar itself is made of unfinished wood that is sanded down each and every morning, which makes it feel incredible. The service level was extraordinary, and the meal took about 3 hours. One quick example, when making the reservation, we asked them to bring in a special magnum of a particular sake (Kubota Manjyu) and they did bring it in, and served it in a traditional ceramic decanter, and they had special sake cups hand made from segments of fresh cut bamboo prepared just for our group a day or two before... pretty wild.
They do just one sitting each night and do an excellent job. It's very heartening to see this level of skill, dedication, art and execution come together.