It was my dream to be able to come to Japan and enjoy sushi when I want. And to fulfil that cream, it was our ambition to make as much money as possible to live that lifestyle. Second best? Go to Japan for work.
During one of these business trip, I went to our Tokyo office and a colleague took me to my first proper Japanese restaurant nearby. As it was a business dinner, it was a good sushi restaurant but nothing extravagant.
The fish in this restaurant was brought in daily from Tsukiji. The omakase started with seven pieces of sashimi.
First up, the very light hirame (sole). Interesting to note, there’s no plate. Everything was served on the teak wood counter similar to what Tatsuya did in Singapore. But it was the first time for me in Japan, this was kind of shocking for me as I always thought Japan was so spotless for hygiene. Then I research and found out that teak wood (real one that is) has a natural anti-bacterial property, so I guessed that why they are preferred in these sushi-ya.
And in between, a stick of yakitori appeared. Yakitori in a sushi restaurant? The purist will protest. They should have stick to their core business as the yakitori was so-so.
And while we munched on the yakitori and continued with the sashimi course, the chef prepared our appetisers.
First appetiser was angkimo (monk fish liver) in ponzu sauce. The first time I had this was in Taiwan, very precious and only one small serving. But here, it was a general two round and thick slices around the size of the soy sauce sauce plate you find in Chinese restaurants. Speaking about that, where’s the soy sauce and wasabi? I was taught by my learned Japanese colleague that good sushi restaurants would have already put the right amount of sauce and wasabi before they serve.
Next up, fish sperm. Don’t squirm, it is shiroko (white cod milt) slightly aburi to give it that smoky flavour. First time having shiroko, I didn’t know what to expect. It tasted like pig’s brain and not fishy at all. I always enjoyed this texture, which most of my Western friends would faint. Think warm, savoury marshmallow.
Following the shiroko, the sushi course stated. It’s omakase, you would not know what you are getting. After over 10 years of ordering omakase, I know this is not entirely true, you know what you are getting. For one, I know I will get 8 pieces of nigiri sushi 握壽司 and a roll, which most likely will be tekka maki 鐵火巻. And the sequence will be from light to fatty, and depending on the price you paid, mostly will get a bluefin tuna belly, either the otoro (fatty bluefin tuna belly) or chutoro, again depending on price.
One notable sushi though, the kani (crab leg) sushi was not made from faux crab sticks that we get at home. This was the real deal. Paired with an ika (squid) sushi.
And to round off a wonderful dinner, we had some tekka maki. The qualify of the fish was so much better than what we would get in Singapore, and they were expertly made in front of you. Also, it was not as expensive as I thought it would be, around USD 70 per person, which is what you pay for a decent sushi meal these days in a chain restaurant in Singapore. There was no more room for dessert (which was a matcha ice cream).
This was my first omakase sushi meal in Japan in my first trip to Japan. Hence, it was so memorable. Unfortunately, this restaurant is now closed. However they do have branches, and one of them is still operating at Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 東急プラザ赤坂. So looking forward to my trip to Tokyo soon.
Sushiden (Shinjuku Mitsui) 寿司田 新宿三井ビル店
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Date Visited : Jan 2012