Landed at NRT Gate 35 for a transit from LAX back to SIN, this is my favourite transit in the world as I can dash to Gate 33 and enjoy some quality sushi. I didn’t know what to expect as this was the first time I was back since Covid.
Sushi Kyotatsu 寿司 京辰 stood out from its competition in the vast complex of Narita because it is still the only place with freshly made Edomae nigiri sushi 江戸前 握寿司.
The chiller was a welcome sight. Firstly, the fish was sourced from Toyosu every day and delivered in the morning to the restaurant. They would cut the fish into serving pieces to save time, given that the clientele would zip and out in less than 30-45 min. Yes, you can have a proper sushi meal from the time you said, “Onegaishimasu” to “O kanjō onegaishimasu” in 30 min.
An ice cold beer to start the meal is a must, extremely refreshing after 11 hours on the plane. The glass was chilled to the right temperature and the beer was served from the tap at close to freezing temperature. Some would snort at beer with sushi, but their sake selection was just the run-of-mill stuff. You have better sake choices at the ANA Lounge later.
The 11-piece Sushi Omakase
The fastest way to eat the full course is to order one of the set meals or omakase. Of course if you have the luxury of time, there’s the ala carte menu that you can order sushi by the single piece. The quality of the seafood you can taste in every bite. The fish is firm and not slimy like those in cheap Japanese restaurants. The shari is only slightly vinegar but I feel that there’s a bit too much mirin (too sweet), which I think was adjusted to foreigner’s tastes.
As usual, the sushi omakase started with a trio of appetisers – ankimo (monkfish liver) in ponzu sauce, seared bonito fish, marinated whelk skirting.
The sushi started with 6 pieces of sushi served at once – Maguro (tuna), Isaki (chicken grunt), Hiramasa (yellowtail amberjack), Hachibiki (Pacific bonnetmouth), Akamai Zuke (marinated tuna), Kinmedai (splendid alfonso). You can ask them to serve it piece by piece like a proper sushi-ya, but they have catered to flying dutchmen like me and adjusted the speed of presentation.
Next 3 pieces were the more premium cuts that needed to be prepared individually – Chutoro (medium fatty tuna belly), Kisu (Japanese whiting), and Botanebi (spotted prawn). And I liked the way they presented the Ikura (salmon roe) in a small sake cup with a little shari.
And the final piece of the 11-piece omakase was the anago (conger eel) served separately so that the sauce would affect the taste of the rest of the sushi. And to wash it all down, the red misoshiru.
I could not resist and ordered three more pieces of sushi – otoro (fatty tuna belly), uni (sea urchin) and akagai (blood clam). All delicious, and with the Japanese yen in our favour, the price increase was not felt.
They have restaurants in Tokyo (in Ebisu and other locations), but you would go try other sushi-ya if you have the choice. Although Kyotatsu is good, I would rate them at a standard similar to Zanmai or Itamae chain of sushi restaurants. But when you are stuck inside the restricted area in Narita, this is the best sushi you can get inside an airport worldwide.
Service was efficient with English speaking itamae and waitresses, the serving was generous but do leave yourself at least 45 min for the meal. So if you are hungry and need your sushi and sashimi fix after a long 11 hours flight from LAX or SFO and arrive before 8.30pm (last order), this is the your truly last chance before you leave Japan. Just look out for the famous pillar.
Visited Feb 2023 (and many other times)
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