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Jun 29, 2014 09:57 AM

A new sushi-ya...

I rarely try new sushi-yas but when I learnt that a former apprentice at Sushi Saito had set up his own shop, I had to visit.

The chef is a mere 27 years old, and trained for 5 years at Saito, 2 years at Kanesaka and 2 years at Sushizen (Ginza branch of the 2* Sapporo sushi-ya). Given that I would be eating the next day at Saito, this would be a real test to see how close he could match his former master.

On the whole, the meal was excellent. Starting with the otsumami, the torigai sashimi (the last week it is in season) with a squeeze of suidachi as well as the bonito were outstanding, especially the latter which had a rich, smoky flavour - easily on a par with that served at Saito the next day. Less successful was the execution of the tako, which unfortunately was very chewy, particularly when compared with the melt-in-mouth tender version at Saito.

The shari was well seasoned (initially, I thought perhaps overseasoned) - the chef uses just akazu and salt - with good bite and well balanced with the fish. The standout nigiri were the kuruma ebi and the aji - the latter being one of the finest pieces of sushi I have eaten all year, and without a doubt, a clear class above that of Saito's the following day.
Tuna was mixed - the chiaiguchi (a half akami-half chutoro cut) had good depth of flavour, however, the o-toro was a little disappointing - whilst it had good flavour, it had a stringy texture.

The chef is kind and friendly - he remembered me from Saito, despite not seeing me for over two years - and given his age, he will undoubtedly go far. At present, he has no help other than his wife, and works overtime during the meal to produce a very high standard of sushi (all the more impressive seeing as he has only been open a few months) - he certainly did his former master Saito-san proud (although admits to being terrified that he might one day visit!). And at just over JPY16,000 for the dinner omakase, it was an absolute steal. I would be surprised if this sushi-ya did not get a Michelin star this year, after which I fear it will be ruined by food tourists.

So I won't post the name, but I'm sure the more enterprising among you on Chow will be able to find it.

Some pics here:

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    1. The name is Sushi-Ya and its located in Ginza. The chefs name is Ishiyama. It is not new.

      1. Did you walk in or make reservations?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Sushi Otaku

          I have not been there. I am just reporting back what my friends in Tokyo are telling me.

          1. re: Roysen

            Then how can you be sure it's the same restaurant? I would be interested in trying this place.

            1. re: Sushi Otaku

              Like I said I got the information from someone else. Since I don't know myself, I am not sure how I can answer that question.

              What my friend told me it was several factors that gave it away. One being the young age. It is not common for a sushi chef to be that young. He is apparently only 27. The second being he is an apprentice from Kanesaka and Saito.

              Apparently he actually used to have his own apprentice even younger than himself.

        2. It's very nice to know that there's a sushi place somewhere in Ginza. Thanks!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Gargle

            Ha-Ha nice sense of humor. I have provided what I know. I don't know the address. I suggest you bother the gentleman in the know for that information. He does know.

            1. re: Roysen

              I know, I was responding to the OP, who I have to conclude dislikes sushi and should spend less time and money on it, given the grades. ;)

              1. re: kayoubidesu

                Nice, but maybe a little jab at faux exclusivity is not a good analogy for a concentrated effort to advertise it.

            2. Thank you Kayoubidesu, with this info this is not difficult to find it. As sushi Saito is practically impossible to reserve, it will surely become too popular too quickly !