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Best sushi in Tokyo?

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Hi! I am a sushi-loving New Yorker who just got relocated to Hong Kong and realize that there isn't really good sushi here. I am missing sushi Yasuda, Ichimura etc. like crazy so I am making a trip to Tokyo (and to Niigata for Fuji Rock) in order to satisfy my cravings. I would love to know what will you consider the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo! I don't care about decor or location, just want to find the best quality fish and variety there is. I have been to Tsukiji fish market but didn't think the restaurants there are all that special. I have heard of Kyuubei and Jiro, but is that the best I can do? Friend told me about a place call Nakahisa across from Ritz Carlton, is it worth going? Thank you!

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  1. See my comments on "the best sushi" at the bottom of this post.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/407305

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      Superb definition of "omakase" to regulars.

      But if you are a regular and the chef knows you, you shouldn't even have to say it. Sit down and food automatically shows up, unless it is the chef's procedure to ask you just in case you want a burger wit cheese roll and a sake bomb instead.

      1. re: Tripeler

        Tripeler:

        My wife and I are going to be in Tokyo for a few days in December and are looking for a good sushi lunch spot. We would like a nice variety of good quality fish. Any more reasonably priced options that come to mind? Thanks in advance.

      2. I agree with Tripeler's comments to the effect that the "best" sushi place is what you make of the experience and the relationship with the itamae. That said, Kyubei and Jiro are regarded as a couple of the top places in Tokyo, but the question in a sense, is a bit awkward in the case of Tokyo. There are just so many sushi restaurants of so many variety across the city. It's not like NYC, where there are just a handful of named shops that everyone knows. You can get very good quality and variety at both neighborhood shops or some of the decent chains. You can check out a couple of reasonably priced places that I link below or, if you are willing to spend, just go to one of the well-known classic places.

        In the Marunouchi building- http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g763327/
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/347704

        15 Replies
        1. re: Silverjay

          My Japan office used to be close to Maru building and went to this sushi shop you mentioned several times. It is decent for lunch but hardly what I would call top sushi place in Tokyo. In the neighbourhood, the top floor has another sushi shop that is better but obviously more expensive.

          The best price/value sushi shop for me is still Sushi Dai in Tsukiji. For top end, my new found favourite is Harumi in Shinbashi. Give it a try, I like it better than the Jiro in Roppongi Hills or Kyubei in Okura (though I have not been to Kyubei or Jiro in Ginza).

          1. re: HKTraveler

            Nope, I wasn't positioning it as a top sushi place in Tokyo. Just a decent place at a reasonable price. Personally, I'm not into any of the Tsukiji places. The area is just too inundated with both domestic and international tourists these days and I've never been particulary impressed with Sushi Dai or the other shops I've been to in terms of price, quality, and selection. I've heard good things about Sushi Bun though...Thanks for the info on Harumi.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Supposedly the highlight of Sushi Bun, in addition to being well over a century old, based on what I read (author Atsushi Koseki's book), is that their nitsume is from vats that were previously stored in underground temples during times of war, receipe handed down the generations, and thus is syrupy and thick like molasses, and goes great with ni-awabi or ni-anago. If I ever get to Tsukiji (before they move) I might drop by to check it out.

            2. re: HKTraveler

              Ate at Harumi No 3 in Shimbashi a few days ago and was overall pretty disappointed, nothing about the place really got me excited. Definitely not as good as Kyubei [Ginza] which I visited earlier in the year.

              Best sushi on this recent visit was at 2 places in Tsukiji, one of which is called Uogashi Senryo and the other whose name I will dig out. Fuller report on each place to follow.

              With respect to my post below, Araki is closed [for Obon holiday] until 17th August so will try it out on my next visit to Tokyo hopefully later in the year.

              1. re: oonth

                Did you go for lunch or dinner? Dinner is better though lunch is good as well. Will try one of the other places for comparison next time i am there. Out of the ones that you like, which one would you recommend?

                1. re: HKTraveler

                  Was there for dinner. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the place and the itamae/staff were receptive and friendly but nothing really stood out for me from the fish to the rice to the shoyu to the sake. And when you're paying Y11,000 you expect something more uplifting. Truth be had, I wasn't so thrilled by Kyubei that I would want to go back and have given up on the high end Ginza sushi places for the moment preferring to explore some of the less heralded Tsukiji places and neighbourhood sushi-yas (based where possible on recs from local friends). I also like the depachika sushi quite a lot especially from Isetan which revamped its whole food hall earlier in the year I am told. Very impressive it is too.

                  I would recommend Uogashi Senryo. Good decor, v. pleasant atmosphere with jazz playing, very good nigiri (I tried a whitefish called me-hikari for the first time which I liked a lot) and fantastic uni norimaki. The other place in Tsukiji has more "aburi" style nigiri which I like a lot sprinkled as it is with sudachi/yuzu and rock salt, I will post the name once I unearth it.

                  1. re: oonth

                    Thanks, will try it out when i am next there in mid-Sep. I googled Uogashi Senryo and can't find it. Can you post the address and the name in kanji if you have it?

                    1. re: HKTraveler

                      Will scan the card and post a pic of that. I am posting below a pic of the frontage and also the first batch of sushi that I ordered including the superb uni norimaki.

                      In the meantime, brief directions are: approach Tsukiji from Ginza walking south down Miyuki Dori. Once you cross over Shin-Ohashi Dori you are standing at what I call the North West corner of the retail market. Continue south into the market and immediately take the first little street to your left. Uogashi Senryo is the fourth (I think) store/shop on the right.

                       
                       
                      1. re: oonth

                        Would you happen to know the hours of Uogashi Senryo? Might try to head there for breakfast this week. Would also be interested in the name of the "aburi" style place if you can find it.

                        1. re: HKTraveler

                          Tried Uogashi Senryou while I was in Tokyo this week. Went for lunch instead of dinner. Love the atmosphere. A tiny sushi shop located right inside a dry goods store. Can't imagine a more special setting with shoppers streaming by while I was munching on my sushi. I find the food OK. The uni was fantastic but when I asked for a second piece, it went from fantastic to subpar. It might be because the second piece was served by a more junior chef. In any event, highly recommended for atmosphere and OK for food. Will try Sushi Bun the next time I am there. Here is a link to some photos:

                          http://hongkongtraveler.blogspot.com/...

                          1. re: HKTraveler

                            Hi HKTraveler: how do you compared Uogashi Senryou to your own personal favorite Harumi at Shinbashi, and Kyubei at Okura and Jiro at Roppongi? I just came back from Tokyo too. Tried Kyube at Ginza this time; it was good but I still think that Jiro at Roppongi Hill is better and still my favorite sushi place.

                            1. re: FourSeasons

                              I would put Kyubei, Jiro and Harumi in one category and Dai and Senryou in another. The first three are more expensive and cater to a higher end clientele. I do find the food better there as well. Dai and Seryou goes into the good value for money category. You simply can't beat their price point of 3000 to 4000 yen. Aside from the food, Senryou is worth seeing for its setting situated outside of Tsukiji and inside a dry goods store. I also like Harumi when the chef would give me their daily sushi post. He handwrites the fish available everyday on a poster and it lists where the fish is from. I would say it is THE sushi momento. I will try to take a picture of mine and post it someday.

                              1. re: HKTraveler

                                HKTraveler, apologies for not posting details about the Tsukiji aburi place, I have been moving around these last few weeks. I will see if I can dig up details.

                                Glad to hear that you liked certain aspects of Senryo although shame that you found the food only so so. Seems as though our respective sushi recs haven't found full culinary favour with the other, that said it's still great to information share, keep your recs coming please.

                                I've visited Japan 3 times and am still to find a superlative sushi experience although I have marvelled at individual item brilliance such as sayori at Kyubei Ginza and uni norimaki at Senryo. I will keep looking and next time I am in Tokyo/Japan (likely next month) I will try Jiro and Araki (details above). On my last visit in August, the best overall sushi experience was probably some random place near the train station in Hiroshima but at the same time nowhere disappointed.

                                1. re: oonth

                                  Thank you for all the recommendations. I do wonder if our liking of Harumi and Senryou is affected by lunch vs dinner. Even though I like sushi, not sure if I like it enough to do a same day lunch and dinner. Maybe some true sushi fanatic can helps us out here.

                                  Will try to find a chance to try out Kyubei in Ginza this week!

                                  1. re: HKTraveler

                                    I sometimes wonder if there is difference due to lunch vs dinner. I went to Jiro 4 times in the last 2 years, served by the same chef. 3 dinners were awesome, but the lunch was just good. But the chef insisted that the quality for lunch and dinner are the same. I just went to Kyubei Ginza last week for lunch, which I find just good as well,nothing close to the dinner standard I had in Jiro.

          2. Here's a thread that I instigated earlier in the year.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357995

            I ended up going to Kyubei [Ginza] at lunchtime and it was a worthwhile experience and not bad value overall although whether it was Y7,000 better than your average Tsukiji experience is debatable. That's not really the point though, they are different experiences and it's worth sampling both.

            I'm in Tokyo/Kyushu/Japan again later this week and my sushi bar tip this time around is a place called Araki which is a neighbourhood sushi joint in a town 20 mins train ride west of Shibuya station recommended to me by a Japanese friend in New York (and in turn recommended to her by Japanese friends locally). I will post a link to her and her husband's blog report on their meal there in January this year, it sounds like a winner. The address details are below:

            Araki
            Kaminoge Little Town 102
            4-27-1 Nakamachi Setagaya-ku Tokyo
            03-3705-2256

            あら輝
            東京都世田谷区中町4-27-1 上野毛リトルタウン102
            (03)3705-2256

            1. Hi wyking, I've been living in HK for 10 yrs (lived in NY for 7 before that) & can agree that there are no really good sushi places here. The two I like the best (but don't expect top NY quality, let alone Japan) are Sushi Imamura & Sushi Hiro; both are worth a try, book the sushi counter (ask for Imamura-san at the first) & have omakase. Imamura in particular can be very good but you have to prove yourself worthy first (ie seem to know something about good sushi), as with all good sushi places.

              3 Replies
              1. re: candicehk

                Hi Candice, sorry this reply is 1 year late, yes, I have been to both Imamura and Hiro, great for HK but nothing like NY, i miss Yasuda and Ushiwakamaru so much. Just blows my mind that HK is so close to Japan yet has such inferior sushi!!

                1. re: wyking

                  Go and try Sawada at Ginza; you won't miss Sushi Yasuda anymore after that experience.

                  1. re: wyking

                    On other note, I just found this thread at China Board: "Best Sushi in HongKong": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/547868 . HKTraveler, a sushi lover, had recommended Kenjo. I am not able to comment further as I had never try sushi in Hong Kong though I am a regular visitor. Suggest you to continue perhaps on China Board for anything related to Hong Kong matter to be able to get more helpful comments on Hong Kong scene.

                2. I am in Japan quite a lot (4-10 times a year) and I've been to many places, on my own and with Japanese friends. Kyubei [Ginza] is terrific and you can't go wrong there. I've also eaten at 2 of their other locations but Ginza is the flagship and best. it is expensive (27K-35K, with drinks and lots of food), but if you can afford it it is the best.

                  1. Any update on Best Sushi in Tokyo?

                    Will go in Sept. and still can't decided yet.
                    Have budget around 20,000 yen..

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: CPMK

                      Shall I go for Mizutani or Sawada?
                      Do both of the master chefs themselves are the ones who do the food at luch time?

                      1. re: CPMK

                        Both are excellent choices. But if your budget is 20k, just select Mizutani. You will end up paying 30k or more at Sawada. The master chefs will be there at lunch hour too. People don't pay those prices for their assistants...

                        1. re: CPMK

                          Have you considered Dai San Harumi? I see Uncle Yabai hasn't posted here, but that tends to be his recommendation.
                          For 20,000 you will certainly leave stuffed and possible a bit tipsy if you're up for some beers.