Sukiyabashi Jiro: the one and only ©japantimes.co.jp

Sukiyabashi Jiro: the one and only Featured

 A small, simple space with just 10 counter seats will leave you mesmerised and delighted.

by Angelina Hazzouri

Award-winning sushi master Jiro Ono’s restaurant is the best of the best - not just in Tokyo but across the globe. Cultured foodies everywhere have heard of his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, and many have viewed the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” only to whet their palates of the visual essence of this dining experience.

In this case, we are not using the term “experience” loosely. At Sukiyabashi Jiro, you are not just having a meal. You are quite literally experiencing the art of sushi from its roots. Sushi originated as a casual food served at stalls, in which customers would quickly eat the sushi, drink some tea, wipe their hands, and depart. As fun as drinking sake and prolonging fun dinners with friends can be, this age-old establishment maintains the tradition of Edomae-style sushi with its fast-paced omakase tasting menu, which consists of about 20 courses. Guests are asked to refrain from taking photos of the sushi, as the only way of fully enjoying Jiro’s sushi is to concentrate on dining. Sound ridiculous? You won’t think so after you’ve experienced it.

One might think that at 92 years-old, a highly revered Japanese chef has better things to do with his time. For Jiro Ono, that is not the case. He still makes the sushi at his restaurant today, and everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Barack Obama has tasted it. So what’s so special about it?

jiro sushiFrom the documentary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Well, this sushi does not just start with the preparation. Although Jiro and his team are extremely knowledgeable about sushi, they source experts in each particular ingredient - a shrimp expert, a tuna expert, a sea urchin expert, etc. The Tsukiji Market (relocating to Toyosu Market), which is the largest and busiest fish market in the world, is where it all starts. The fish used by Jiro and his staff is procured from this market daily, and it’s the freshest fish money can buy. Prices of fish from this market have gone up to 36.45 million yen, which is why the per-person charge at Sukiyabashi Jiro is a bit more than your usual Friday night takeout order, but it is well worth it.

Every ingredient here is critical to the taste of each piece of sushi. The sushi rice is cooked and prepared based on your reservation time, and the only recommended beverage is green tea. Guests are not disregarded by the staff, but rather, a relationship is formed from the start of the meal to the finish. The attention to detail of Jiro’s philosophy is unrivaled in this immaculate restaurant that truly encapsulates the art and tradition of Japanese dining.

 

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