Tsukuda (June 2015)
This sushi restaurant was opened in the home town of the head chef, who was allegedly trained by Takeaki Niitsu, legendary sushi chef and the second head chef at the famous Ginza sushi restaurant Kiyota.
For this nigiri-zushi, they take ingredients from the Karatsu area, and use it to make sushi in the Edomae style, so it's called Karatsumae-zushi.
According to the chef, about 80% of their ingredients are locally produced, and the remaining 20% are ingredients that you can't find in Tokyo, selected from areas all over Japan.
Their slightly hard shari, made with akazu vinegar and the perfect amount of salt, is just like traditional Edomae sushi rice.
Despite the shop's location in the rural Karatsu area, they make sushi so good, it puts Ginza sushi restaurants to shame.
The lunch set is priced at ¥4500 (at the time I visited). It's amazing value for your money.
However, the speed at which the head chef makes sushi is even faster than that of Sukiyabashi Jiro owner Jiro Ono, and my meal was over not 10 minutes after I'd entered the store.
I had no time to sit and enjoy the aftertaste, and as I'd traveled for over an hour to get here from Hakata, I was left feeling slightly conflicted.
Today, the head chef's son, the second generation chef, stands behind the counter.
He apparently makes very high-quality sushi despite his young age, and I'd like to try it out one day if I ever get the opportunity.
If you have the chance to go there, I think you should choose Kiyota. I have written about this many times, but since Kimura-san from Kiyota will unfortunately be retiring very soon, the opportunity to be able to savor his sushi is precious.
Between Obana and Nakajyo, however, I personally prefer Obana.
Otsumami at Nakajyo are exceptionally delicious, but the sushi itself is not particularly to my liking.
Sakai is very good I would say. We visited back in April. There were about 7 or 8 otsumami followed by 13 nigris. I wouldn't compare the quality of ingridients straight with Tokyo's top tier sushiyas, given the price point and the fact that Sakai-san sourced most his ingridients from the nearby Kyushu area. But the meal at Sakai was very satisfying and touching. Every bite was delicious.
What amazed me even more was the good pace. Sakai has a 10- or 12-seat counter but the Chef managed to serve dishes very efficiently, without anyone getting less attention. We asked for hot tea in the middle of the meal and our cup was never left half fulfilled.
A wooden board hung behind the chef says "流汗悟道". It must have taken Sakai-san a lot of hard work to get to this level. Indeed, we could feel the effort and thoughts Sakai san had put into the meal. We were utterly impressed.
It is Iida, with three Michelin stars, right?
A kappo restaurant that has a lot of popularity with foodies in Japan, so it would be very hard to get a reservation.
Actually, I have not been there yet either.
It is different from Ogata, which tries to bring out the flavor of ingredients, while keeping salt to a minimum.
Their food is characterized as being delicate, with well refined seasonings that leave a strong impression.
If you get the opportunity, I do not think it would hurt to try that restaurant.
Below are the prices and the cancellation charges quoted by my hotel for satake when I went for lunch early this month(Aug 2018).
Restaurant: Sushi Satake
Course: 12,960JPY per person course only
Cancellation policy: 100% of te course if you cancel the reservation on the reservation day.
Below are the prices quoted by my hotel for uomasa Unagi when I went early this month.
Domestic Farmed Unagi / Deluxe Unaju (Unaju: grilled eel over a bed of rice): 4,815JPY
Domestic Farmed Unagi / Superior Unaju: 5,880JPY
Bando Taro Unagi / Deluxe Unaju: 5,830JPY
Bando Taro Unagi / Superior Unaju: 6,880JPY
Natural Unagi / Unaju: market price on tat day (between 12,000 and 30,000JPY)