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Osaka - Koyoshi Sushi (where Bourdain had Sushi in Osaka on No Reservations!!!) - Perceptor's Photo Report

Thank you Caren on Chowhound for sharing the address info on this place!!!!
I watched that episode on No Reservation many times and I can't believe I experienced it in person. The place is even smaller in person.

Enjoy my photo report:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=9...

- Perceptor

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  1. Great pic! Your photo reports make my mouth drool! and a bit homesick...
    I'm a native Osakan, but have never been to any of these places.

    What you call "yumeigai" looks like "torigai" to me. It's very chewy and my favorite.
    Also, by "taiharagai", do you mean "tairagai"? like this?
    http://www.rakuten.co.jp/sakana-3a/55...

    That fried rice with the kobe beef fat and garlic looks soooooooo good. I have my own favorite kobe beef place in Osaka, but they don't serve fried rice. And don't get me started on kujira. I grew up eating it. Haven't had it for 30 yrs!

    Sounds like you had a real "kuidaore" trip. Really, Osakans live to eat!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kuidaore

      you really have the BEST chowhound screen name Kuidaore ;-) that is how we all should live our lives.... we probably heard the chef wrong on yumeigai... and yes i meant tairagai.. i just didnt know how to spell it ;-)

    2. yay! beautiful pics.

      may i ask how much your meal was? how did you order? or did you let the chef prepare whatever he wanted for you?

      i'm going to osaka in a few months and hope to visit koyoshi. i want to be prepared!

      1 Reply
      1. re: yimay

        yimay...
        it was 7500 yen for the 2 of us if i remember correctly... i basically told him in half english/half japanese to feed me and some pointing at things i wanted to eat...
        enjoy your trip! keep in mind that the restaurant opens at 6:00pm everyday except sunday

      2. I just ran across this post. I hope it's ok to resurrect it. It's been almost 2 years since the address to the sushi bar.
        Does anyone know how Koyoshi Sushi is faring these days?
        Withe international ChowHounders visiting, I wonder if he would have had to expand?
        Loved the pictures!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ritabwh

          I was last there a year ago. I doubt he's going to expand; the couple which owns the place are quite content with what they have.

          Not that many international visitors go, at least not compared to locals. Whenever I've gone, it's been an entirely local crowd (except for me, but they think I'm local until I actually speak. . . ).

        2. Can anyone shed some light on prices? I would think this is a la carte, so would there be any difference in price? Also, would lunch/dinner have any affect on the # of customers? I realize it's a TINY place... haha

          Would one be able to have a satisfying variety of food for lunch for say 2000 yen? Any help would be great!... 3 of us are planning to be in osaka June 24-25!!

          Also, any suggestions on what to order? We'll eat anything! (or just about)

          2 Replies
          1. re: msprnt

            Last year I had maybe 5 pieces of sushi there and paid somewhere in the region of Y2500. That being said, I had some of the more expensive pieces--hotate, uni, ikura, anago (their anago is amazing) and one more but I can't remember what (a winter fish).

            I don't think they do lunch. If you're planning on going with 3 people and want to actually eat together, then I'd suggest going as soon as they open. You're not likely to get seated together (or even get to eat at the same time) after that.

            FYI--they close indiscriminately. I've gone a couple of times only to find a sign on the door saying they were closed for the week. Since they don't have a website, you have to call to make sure they're open or just take the risk and drop by.

            1. re: prasantrin

              sorry to bump this, but i was looking up this place for a friend in hk and realized i never followed up after visiting!

              anyhow.....the search for this place took about 15-20 minutes of walking around because we had only a vague idea of where it was .... the photos from the OP really helped because that's how we found it! i don't recall exactly when we got there, but it was likely around 6pm and we were SUPER fortunate to have gotten seats together for the 3 of us immediately ... we were also fortunate to have a japanese doctor there who was translating for us and i was able to get into a real conversatoin with him about his time in canada, etc.

              i forget exactly what we ordered, but we each had about 7 pieces of nigiri and a few cooked items for roughly 5000 yen (could be less?) ... the chef couple was very nice and took pictures with us .... and the middle-aged women who were there tried to talk to us, but we couldn't communicate... the doctor said they were saying how happy we were...haha

              the fish here was probably the best we had in japan....but only compared to that which we had in tsukiji, one keiseki/omakase in tokyo, supermarkets and conveyor...hahah

              when we left, a small line had already begun to form...

              anyhow, i miss this type of intimate eating style in canada.... oh! and i met someone from my hometown there who was visiting as well!... small world!

          2. Was just here in April. Best sushi we had in Japan, w/ experiences similar to msprnt- kaiseki, tsukiji, several other sushi places in osaka/tokyo and kaiten zushi. Location was very hard to find without pictures (only found this post afterwards).

            Everything was excellent but particularly the kanpachi sushi with no wasabi or soy sauce, but a sprinkling of sea salt and a hint of yuzu

            PS Perceptor, your pictures are great- what camera/lense were you using?

            1. great photos, thanks very much for sharing the name and details of this restaurant. we'll be visiting Osaka later this summer.

              1. We went there tonight (June 11th 2012) and it was ok, but it certainly didn't equate to decent value (for the 2 of us anyway). We had 2 pieces of toro sushi, 2 salmon and 2 tuna, with 2 salmon roe sushi pieces for 3000 yen, which on current exchange rate is a little under $40. No one else was there (maybe it was a quiet Monday night or too early - this was just before 7pm)

                The main thing was the strange attitude of the couple though - they were lovely, smiley and gregarious when we walked in, smiling and happy to see us (we were the first customers of the night), warm welcome and helping us through the selection. As soon as we got down to basics though, and i explainted we were only had about 4000 yen for a sampling, the husband asked if that was 4000 each (i.e. 8000 total). As soon as i said no, that was for both (we are travelling for 6 months, and on a pretty tight budget), their mood perceptibly changed. The wife didn't even look at us anymore, the whole attitude became frosty, and both of them kind of just shut down. It was really, really odd.

                I don't think we offended them at all, and frankly, we've had just as good cuts of fish, some i think fresher, in Tokyo when we ate at a few neighbourhood places in Asakusa. We had great Kyoto sushi in Kyoto last week too at Izuju, and far better value for money.

                Anyway it was good, nice and tasty and i was happy we had found the place but man, i would never go back for that sort of poor value, as well as the strange behaviour. We were both disappointed as we'd watched Bourdain rave about the place and had starved ourselves today to be super in the mood to savour everything.

                We are back in Tokyo in a few days and will be heading back to the neighbourhood joints in Asakusa, where for 3000 you can get a nice sized sushi AND sashimi platter which is comfortably enough for 2 people to share, and super fresh.

                34 Replies
                1. re: krosfyah

                  >but man, i would never go back for that

                  No offense, but I'm pretty sure they won't be too heartbroken. I guess this is one reason why it's nice when a regular customer introduces a new prospect to a sushi shop - they also tell their friend the price range they should expect.

                  Running a small sushi shop is a delicate operation. You go to the fish market in the morning, and you pay a certain, not insignificant amount of money, to vendors with whom you've built up a relationship, to buy certain grades of fish, some of which may go to waste before you get to sell them. Then in the evening you hope to fill your eight or ten seats with customers who appreciate the quality level of what you've found, and are happy to pay for what they're getting.

                  And just FYI, Y2000 per person is extraordinarily cheap for good sushi. If you've found someplace that's Y1500 per person and you're satisfied with the quality, then good for you I guess. But don't expect every sushi shop in Japan to try to beat that price - it just doesn't work that way.

                  1. re: Robb S

                    > they also tell their friend the price range they should expect.

                    In this case, was that information not available any other way? What am I missing here.

                    1. re: kamiosaki

                      The information is readily available. Just google Koyoshi Sushi and you will notice that they have a Facebook page with a price range of US$30-50. Why is this relevant? So that you don't walk into a Michelin star restaurant and after noticing the price, split an entree amongst two person and then leave. And he thought he didn't offend people ..... speechless ....

                      1. re: HKTraveler

                        HKTraveler, i don't know about you but finding Facebook pages, looking for pricing info etc before going into a new restaurant in a new land so as to forewarn against this possible scenario is not always possible/anticipated. Based on every other dining experiences, every mom and pop sushi place in Japan without exception all seemed to have even basic pricing structure/menu in place for the standard offering. I (wrongly) assumed this would be similar.

                        Can i ask what you would have done if you'd not had any price info to hand and been in my position?

                        1. re: krosfyah

                          >Can i ask what you would have done if you'd not had any price info to hand and been in my position?

                          You're allowed to ask them how much they charge - they won't be offended.

                          1. re: krosfyah

                            Believe it or not, I actually look up the location, price range, dishes to order and things to watch out for ahead of time especially in a foreign land. Part of the reason I travel is to visit good and interesting restaurants and chances are I will only be able to visit these restaurants once in my life. Why not do some homework ahead of time so as to avoid a negative surprise (like what you experienced)? My point about the Facebook page is that it literally took me 5 seconds to google the answer and if you are computer literate enough to post here, you should be able to do that too.

                            If I hadn't done the homework and was in your position, I would just ask and maybe apologize and leave instead of having just a couple of pieces.

                      2. re: Robb S

                        Robb, you're right, i probably had unfair expectations due to the sushi/sashimi we had earlier on in the trip, and the cost/value of that. From research i've now done, it does seem Y4000 wouldn't have bought much, but my expectations were based on what we had had in small local mom and pop establishments in Tokyo and Kyoto. I certainly don't expect anyone to match/beat anyone's price, but i guess having had good sushi/sashimi platters for about Y3000-4000 elsewhere) that my expectations were broadly similar for what we would get here - i shouldn't have made the assumption there, lesson learnt.

                        1. re: krosfyah

                          Are you sure the quality was the same? I don't mean this in a rude way, but sometimes people who are not used to eating good quality sushi on a regular basis as that is very difficult to do outside of Japan are not great at distinguishing between decent, good and very good sushi. The fish should be fairly fresh in all of those cases - that is a given - but the difference in quality, unless it is really top end, can be fairly subtle if you are not used to it. There is probably a fair chance that your 1,500 yen a person sushi experience featured somewhat lower quality than Koyoshi Sushi.

                          1. re: krosfyah

                            I guess that's what I don't understand, why you would think that a famous sushi shop that you saw on TV and that a critic was raving about would have the same price level as a low-budget neighborhood joint - pretty much the cheapest sushi experience possible without a conveyor belt. You are aware that sometimes sushi can be expensive in Japan, no?

                            When I hear about a restaurant that I think I might want to try, the first thing I do is find out how expensive it is. I don't just make up a price in my head, then walk in and ask them to match it.

                            As for the quality level being the same or better, I have no idea since I wasn't there, but I very much doubt that your Asakusa mom and pop shop buys the same grade of fish at the market that Koyoshi does. And I wouldn't necessarily expect that the pieces that Koyoshi found for your bargain price are representative of a typical experience there.

                            1. re: krosfyah

                              If you don't feel like paying the equivalent of a half day salary just for sushi(average), well, don't play !! Sushi is a big buck's game. Even if 45.-US dollar feel like some money, in Japan the value for 10,000.-yens feels different ... anyway, it is just a fact that the play on (good) sushi is expensive, you have to understand that !!
                              In fact, you can propose a fix amount only after you are considered a regular customer, and you have been accepted by the chef.   

                          2. re: krosfyah

                            What an absolutely, completely culturally disconnected approach to dining in Japan. And people wonder why some shops discourage or even prohibit foreign diners.

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              silverjay would you be so kind as to share what the correct and appropriate way to dine in Japan is please?

                              1. re: krosfyah

                                I don't have experience dining in Japan, but I would guess that the change in attitude came from what you asked of the Chef. Kind of like asking an artist to paint you half of a picture.

                                1. re: krosfyah

                                  Avoid nickel and diming mom and pop proprietors and avoid asking any type of proprietors to meet low ball offers of what you are willing to pay- but especially sushi restaurants. Neither of these practices are consistent with Japanese dining culture. The strange attitude you encountered was perplexity that someone would try to pull this off in their shop.

                                  1. re: krosfyah

                                    Moreover, "starving" yourself prior and then asking for "only" a "sampling" looks like it may lead to misunderstandings -- and not necessarily those imposed by cultural / linguistic barriers...

                                2. re: krosfyah

                                  I bet you guys just eat for fuel too right?

                                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                    Notorious PIG, couldn't be further from the truth. I guess as i mentioned in the post to Robb, perhaps my bar had been set artificially high as we had received better value (more quantity and same quality) in Tokyo/Kyoto so i was simply going on that experience.

                                    1. re: krosfyah

                                      So you're comparing Koyoshi Sushi to some place(s) in Asakusa where you can get a sushi platter and a sashimi platter that can feed two people for JPY3000?

                                      I don't think the bar's set too high here, I think maybe the bar's broken.

                                  2. re: krosfyah

                                    I won't comment on your astonishment at not getting more than you got for the princly sum of JPY 2000 each - I think everything has been said by other posters.

                                    About Bourdain raving: I would never ever take that as an indication or even guarantee of quality. I like Bourdain, his quote about vegetarians remains one of my favourite things anyone has ever said, but boy does he like pretty much anything edible!

                                    For example, watching his Prague special (I am from Prague so know the places and foods he commented on) I thought that he just really enjoyed the atmosphere and somehow that translated into praising some perfectly edible, but totally average sausages and other pork products you get at any street corner as if they were the best thing he had ever eaten. Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff, but it's nothing special - watching programmes like this will however unreasonably raise the expectations of any visitors who have never been to Prague before.

                                    I don't have a clue if this applies to the sushi place as well - maybe he enjoyed the atmosphere of a small place run by a charming couple which amplified his enjoyment of the sushi, so he made it sound like the sushi was from another planet (even though it was just perfectly decent sushi you get in many, many places in Japan (but not in his corner of the world)).

                                    As I said, I am not commenting on the quality of the sushi as I have never been to the place being discussed, but I would definitely NEVER use Bourdain as a yardstick.

                                    1. re: Asomaniac

                                      I agree with you. It seems to me that Bourdain used to be a little more "sincere" about the food in old episodes (although I do realize the Osaka episode is fairly old). But especially recently, everything he eats is orgasmic (and I hate using this word to describe food but in his case, with his eyes rolling in his head, that's really what it looks like).

                                      I still enjoy watching him though, and am curious to see what he will do at CNN next year, but I don't really watch him to get recommendations for restaurants, I have Chowhound for that !

                                      As for krosfyah's comment, it's hard for me to say anything as I will go to Japan in September for the first time ever. But even in France, where sushi is pretty bad, 20 bucks will not get you anything worth mentioning, so in Japan I wonder...

                                      1. re: Asomaniac

                                        I never thought of him doing food criticism, more food appreciation.
                                        His is another opinion to take into account, I guess.

                                      2. re: krosfyah

                                        So when Bourdain was at Koyoshi and said, "wait 'til the producer gets the bill for this!"
                                        ... you didn't take that as a signal that they might not sell discount utility sushi?

                                        I think you got away pretty well, considering you got toro and salmon roe...

                                        1. re: anarcist

                                          anarcist, i thought he was specifically referring to the abalone which he was commenting on and eating at that point. Could be wrong though - maybe he meant the whole meal?

                                          1. re: krosfyah

                                            It might have directly been a reference to the abalone, but I would have taken that as a some sort of indication about the overall status of the restaurant and the quality of what they have on offer.

                                            Also, I wouldn't normally want to speculate about the mood shift that you've reported, but I would expect they were probably racking their brains to think how could please you given the parameters that had been set for them. Like I said, they still tried to give you some good cuts that they thought you'd appreciate, despite the limitations placed on them. I still maintain that you got a pretty good deal and I would think they were trying to give you a good deal.

                                        2. re: krosfyah

                                          You didn't mention, but do you speak Japanese? IIRC, neither the husband nor wife speaks English, so I'm wondering how the conversation went down. If you spoke Japanese fluently, I think they would have explained to you that they don't usually do omakase or set meals, and that you should order what you want. The first time I went, they insisted that we order each piece that we wanted. We could ask what seasonal fishes they had and then select from the range they mentioned, but they would not select one for us.

                                          Of course, times change, but given the ages of the proprietors (and of the shop), I can't imagine their preferred ordering system changing. So perhaps their change in mood was, in part, based on what anarcist suggested--they were "racking their brains to think how could please you given the parameters that had been set for them" given that they do not normally operate under those conditions.

                                          1. re: krosfyah

                                            what's interesting is the original post from Perceptor from 2007 seem to indicate that it was somewhat of omakase.
                                            he states 7500 yen for two of them, and he posted 7 photos, which i assume might have been the entire meal?
                                            taking into consideration inflation, it seems 4000 yen for 2 in 2012 was an incredibly good price for whatever was served to krosfyah.

                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                              What is this 'inflation' you speak of? We don't really do inflation in Japan.

                                              1. re: Robb S

                                                the cost of the meal was 7500 yen in 2007.
                                                what would that same same meal cost today in 2012?
                                                no inflation means it would still cost 7500 yen.

                                                1. re: ritabwh

                                                  >no inflation means it would still cost 7500 yen.

                                                  Generally speaking, that's how the math works, yes.

                                                  If you look at individual restaurants, sometimes they raise their prices, sometimes they lower their prices, and often they close down, to be replaced by other restaurants that are cheaper or more expensive.

                                                  1. re: Robb S

                                                    so Kyoshi Sushi has not changed their prices since 2007?

                                                    1. re: ritabwh

                                                      I have no idea, but if Koyoshi Sushi have changed their prices it's not because of inflation. The consumer price index is pretty much the same as it was in 2007. The inflation rate has been positive some months and negative other months, averaging out to around zero over the past five years. Rents (a big cost for a restaurant) have gotten cheaper in some areas.

                                                      1. re: ritabwh

                                                        Don't know, but wouldn't surprise me if it hadn't. The only restaurant I can think of having raised prices was RIstorante Honda, but about 10% in 9 years.

                                              2. re: krosfyah

                                                I am sorry to say but you should not bother with sushi if you are only willing to pay ¥2000 per person even if it is lunch. Sushi will be one of your most expensive meals in Japan if you want high quality. I would suggest budgeting between ¥4500 and ¥10000 per person for lunch or ¥10000 to ¥45000 per person for dinner. The escalating price is mostly to do with the cost of the raw material and the reputaion of the chef.
                                                One strategy to pay less for the best is go directly to the source. In Kansai one could go to Awajishima Island where you can eat the same fish quality as is served in a highend sushi restaurant at 1/2 the price. The technique will be slightly coarser but the taste superb. In Tokyo head to Tsukiji Market early morning (5:30-6:30) and look for the sushi stall with the longest lineup. (I once did this on Christmas morning and it was fantastic!). If you have enough money call the Tokyo Fixer and he will wait in line for you. In Kyoto Nishiki Market has some excellent affordable fish restaurants like the Sumi Grilled (BBQ)Unagi across from Aritsugu Knife shop.
                                                A second strategy is to find a sushi restaurant newly opened by a chef who studied at a famous one. The sourcing and technical skills will be close approximations of the original but at a much better price.
                                                Again sorry for your experience but hopefully next time you have more success!

                                                All the Best

                                              3. For those obsessed with oh-toro, there is a place in Osaka called 新明石鮓

                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGMdNk...

                                                They have an otoro nigiri sampler from 5 different bluefin caught in various parts of the world/Japan at ~5000 yen

                                                - Amami Oshima
                                                - Oma / Aomori
                                                - Minami (Southern Pacific) the location mentioned is Africa in a different clip
                                                - Spain
                                                - can't quite figure out the last one (but Japanese?

                                                )

                                                If anything, fun to watch bluefin porn.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: K K

                                                  The five in the clip are:
                                                  - Aomori Oma
                                                  - South America
                                                  - Amami Oshima
                                                  - Spain
                                                  - Ireland

                                                  This menu (http://g.pia.co.jp/shop/58657?view=menu) says it's the following five for Y3500:
                                                  - Wakayama
                                                  - South America
                                                  - Nagasaki
                                                  - Boston
                                                  - Aomori Oma

                                                  Also they do three types of uni for Y1500:
                                                  - Awaji Isalnd
                                                  - Hokkaido
                                                  - Shikoku