Sushi ho in Yotsuya
Michelin is not always a winner when it comes to Tokyo’s guide. I pretty much agree with more than half of the restaurants that got 2 and 3 star. However, when it comes to sushi, interestingly many of the sushi bars that receive high scores at Tabelog, actually receive no star from the red book guide. One of them is Sushi Shou, a sushi-ya that has become the talk among sushi fans and experts because of the unique approach taken by its Itamae, the skillful Chef Keiji Nakazawa. His method is so unique that anybody who follows the same/similiar technique would be known to apply Shou-style. A remarkable appreciation to Nakazawa-san’s approach toward sushi. What’s special about it? The chef thinks that fresh fish has no taste and like beef, seafood needs to age in order to draw out most of its flavor. The seafood is only half of the formula of good sushi; the other half he believes that each fish is required to be matched with specificly prepared rice (white vs brown rice; white vs red vinegar(ed) and its intensity level). Often, the fish needs to be cooked as well. It’s indeed quite complicated, but the true master would definitely devote his energy and mind for this kind of perfection.
Sushi Shou is located in the Shinjuku district, tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Yotsuya. It’s far from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo metropolitan. Like any other places serving tasty food, it simply does not matter where they’re hidden; people would be willing to make effort for those delicacy and Sushi Shou is without exception. The dinner has 2 seatings. When my wife and I came earlier, the counter was literally packed. The atmosphere was quite lively and relaxing; guests (all were locals) had no problem conversed a bit loudly. They all seemed to have a good time. Then come our time, the restaurant was once again full. The funny thing during the 2nd seating (close to 9 PM), most of the customers, but one person, were non-Japanese. Some of these Singaporean people tried to book another dinner at Sushi Shou for their next visit in mid/late Dec this year but they’re told that the restaurant had been fully booked until end of the year except for scattering 1-2 seats at random dates. That’s how popular this restaurant has become even with foreigners, though perhaps not many westerners are familiar with this place
Let’s jump to the food now. Omakase was the only menu available. Sushi Shou is not only about sushi, but you will also have sashimi and light bites. My only compalain was that the portion for non-sushi items were often too small. Next time I probably should ask for more or bigger pieces. My best dishes (there were many of them actually) are the following:
- Barely warm Ika stuffed with rice, a traditional dish with balance flavor. I wish it had been bigger ..
- Keiji from Rausu; this infant Salmon is more oily but lighter in texture than the regular salmon; it has clean and elegant flavor. Like Toro, it's 'melt in your mouth'; I felt lucky to have tried this scarce fish
- When it comes to shrimp, I usually don’t bother to eay anything but Kuruma Ebi. But, the prawns at Sushi Shou were apparently very umami. First, the cooked Ebi with Oboro; it is sweet with firmer texture while the vinegared eggs (smart addition) enhance the prawn's umami flavor. Here, the red rice worked well with this 'full body' crustacean; a great piece of nigiri sushi
Next, Botan Ebi aburi in 2 serving - its tail and head. The torched botan prawn, seasoned with ground 'salt' and Japanese citrus, was sweet, succulent and tasty; the prawn's head was crunchy, smokey and even more flavorful than its tail
- Aging fishes: Buri (aged for 1 week), this adult and fatty Yellowtail is tender and a bit oily; it's almost taste like a toro. Chutoro (aged for 10 days), the aging process would allow the flavor of this Tuna belly to mature. Not as fatty as the Chutoro I had earlier, but more complex
- (O)Toro group: Chopped toro ohagi, one of Nakazawa-san's many specialties. The delicious chopped tuna was mixed with onion, sesame and scallion and integrated with the sweet glutinous rice; Otoro was perfect pink and white marbling. As expected, it's very yummy and melt-in-my-mouth
- Ankimo with 'pickled (baby)' watermelon. An amazing morsel, truly a sheer of delight - the buttery & rich liver is contrasted to the fresh & crunchy watermelon
- Lightly steamed Ezo awabi; it has gentle texture and slightly chewy with deep & unique flavor
The rests of the stuffs not mentioned here was generally also good. In total in I was served almost 30 dishes and a few extra nigiri towards the end. I invite you to click the link below if you want to know more.
Tokyo is never short of delicious sushi-ya. But for me, Sushi Shou is my favorite sushi place in Japan (as far as the food is concerned, this place is better by a small margin when compared to Sushi Mizutani and Sushi Jiro Ginza) and thus, Keiji Nakazawa is the world’s best sushi chef. The setting was far from being stuffy, quite the opposite it’s very relaxed and informal. Chef Nakazawa was helpful, friendly and gracious. He and his team wanted to make sure that the guests, even when they speak very little or no Japanese, would be feeling comfortable and having fun. I can imagine for someone (with fluent Japanese) who’s fanatic about sushi and fishes would have a time of his life at Sushi Shou since the chef-owner was enthusiastic whenever there’s guest asked about his food and cooking technique. Since it’s not anywhere near Ginza, the bill was friendlier to my wallet. The food alone, I bestow this place 96 pts (a solid 2 ¾* by Michelin standard). Sushi Shou is actually an easy picked for Michelin’s highest accolade had Nakazawa-san not rejected its inspector or had the inspector respected/understood sushi more according to him
If you wonder how the dishes look like, check them out here: https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/SushiShouTokyoJapan
If you want to read more detailed review, click the following: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspo...
re: Bu Pun Su
"tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Yotsuya. It’s far from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo metropolitan".
Yotsuya is right in the middle of Tokyo. Couldn't be more central. And it's far from being a quiet neighbourhood or a cheap place far from Ginza. Yotsuya is a busy station and that area is an extension of Akasaka, another playground for rich executives and politicians.
The tsumami/sushi looks amazing. A couple of the tabelog reviewers that I follow (jazzymasa and bottan) gave it 4.5 or higher across the board - a big thumbs up from these guys. The omakase has about 30 courses - half of which are tsumami. It seems that sushiya which have tsumami heavy courses, like Sushi Sho, also have pretty good sake menus too. The reviews that I have read name Hakurakusei, Hiroki, Nabeshima, Dassai amounts other notible brands.
Looking forward to your review.
Sushi sho Yotsuya is the best of sushi sho style. But still not my thing, as I have a clear preference for nigiris. Chef Nakazawa is aging his fish himself. This is a place for drink (alcohol), that is the reason of alternating sushis/sashimis. Count more than 20,000 yens per person. But if you include drinks, I have no idea about total price.
A little (or big) precision, yes, it is a very good cost performance, with all the tsumami/nigiri served, but still I don't feel confortable with sushi Sho style. I would ask for the tsumami/sashimi at first, and nigiri after. So then I have a notice when to switch to nigiri, but it is difficult when going there alone...
A big 30 nigiris set doesn't scare me when such sushis are enjoyable, but in sushi Sho case, I felt filled up at half way, so it was hard, no visibility on the quantity, and the space between, so you drink too much..