"Iroha Sushi"- Sushi - Naka-Meguro (Shibuya), Tokyo - Toyoko Line
Here's what I was looking for: not kaiten sushi, not 80,000 YEN-no-prices on the menu sushi, and not sushi chains. Just want good, fresh fish, and a good selection.
Iroha Sushi has been there for a while. The outside of the shop isn't going to be mistaken for somewhere in Ginza. And their business cards look homemade. And if you sit at a table, some the waitresses, who are Chinese, can't always understand the order. But the place has a rustic charm. There's a sushi counter, some regular tables, some Japanese style tables, and a whole upstairs as well. The counter should probably be another 2-3 meters longer to accomodate the herd of busy, slightly grumpy chefs- but that's ok. The fish was great and the prices were just fine.
They've got a nice whiteboard list of seasonal sashimi and nigiri, appetizers, and other good looking cooked fish dishes. The chu-toro was great. Generous size and no overly sinewy cuts. Umm, melty... In season buri was fantastic and I wouldn't eat it as hamachi every again if I had the choice. The shime-saba (mackeral) was in season and very good, with the same kind of meltiness as I usually expect from fleshier fish. My benchmark for freshness is usually hotate (sea scallop) and it was great here. Nice gentle, sweet snap to it. Akai-gai (surf clam) was good as well, though bit on the skimpy side. Kuro-dai, the seasonal snapper, was quite delicious as well. Botan-ebi (prawn) fresh, nice size. Nearly all was good- save for the aburi-salmon which was topped with daikon oroshi, presumably for soy sauce. But daikon is too watery for this dish- a moment of weakness in an otherwise very tasty couple of experiences. Throughout two visits, not one of the items we ordered lacked extreme freshness and most were generously served. Seasonal fresh raw oysters, shucked on the premises and served with homemade ponzu, where gigantic. So at Iroha, they aren't prone to skimp simply to fulfill orders.
Regarding price- went with one friend the first time and the two of us went at both the sushi and beverage bars with complete reckless abandon and no inhibitions as to how full, drunk, or much money we were going to spend. The final damage was 14,000 YEN, 4000 of which was beer and shochu. Throughout both visits, I also spied heaping chanko nabe hot pots being carried upstairs, so there's more to Iroha than just sushi.
There are plenty of places like this in Japan, so I'm by no means holding this on some pedestal. But this is fresh Tsukiji bought sushi, in a modest, neighborhood environment. And it's not too far from Shibuya and the Yamanote Line either. One prohibitive issue for foreign tourists may be the lack of English spoken, but they do have a picture menu. And definitely try pointing randomly at least, at the specials board.
Ordered: sushi a la carte + drinks
Location: Naka-Meguro, Toyoko Line (1 express stop from Shibuya)
Address: Meguro-ku, Kami-Meguro 1-22-13, Tokyo
Shop homepage: http://www.irohasushi.com/
It has been a couple of years, but I popped in one night recently with a friend for some cheap sushi and beers. The location is now along the Meguro River, just next to Otaru, the big corner cheap, Chinese looking izakaya. Nice bright, rather new interior. Same good cost performance sushi as it's always been. Roster included akagai and a nice quick seared oyster, along with big plump botan ebi, not bad at all chu-toro, and some other things. No buri on this night though. And silver stuff isn't their strong suit. But hotate and couple other shellfish were fresh.
Guys behind the counter are still pretty grumpy and the concept of "no smoking" still hasn't fired in management's synapses. But that's part of the charm.
They also have a branch down on Yamate dori toward Aobadai on the second floor above a Lawson. Though, more centrally toward touristy stuff, they have a branch in Kodenmacho with a Nihonbashi address. A moderate and good sushi option for those looking for such...Website is still the same.
I really enjoyed my meal here, my last sushi before returning home. I'm glad I found this post and was able to find the restaurant. The sushi chef had very little patience for people who couldn't speak Japanese and instructed one of the waitresses to help us with our order. Partway through the meal we managed to convince him that although we couldn't speak any Japanese whatsoever, we knew the names of most fish. Every piece of fish was fresh and delicious. The standouts for us were the saba and something I had not encountered very often - yaki-otoro. The otoro was flamed briefly using a blowtorch, releasing some of the oils in the fish. Wow this was melt-in-your-mouth good.
Thanks Silveryjay for the find - excellent sushi at great prices.
The blowtorch thing is called "aburi" style actually. It's done to tuna and salmon belly. Yeah, it's good and it's a nice way to mix up a typical raw regiment. Some places will sprinkle on salt, squeeze lemon juice, or sometimes top with onion. Glad to hear you enjoyed your meal and your trip.