I think both sushi restaurants are worth going out of the way to visit.
Sushi Ikko's shari is different from Sushi Sakai, which mainly uses red vinegar, and offers proper and mild tastes. That's a part some people evaluate positively or negatively depending on the preference.
Personally, I would prefer Sushi Sakai.
Just a quick note. I bought a bottle of Sharaku 写楽 (#10 on this list), at my local wine store. I picked the junmaishu (gold characters on the label). I'd say it's about 3 months old, they just received the shipment last week. They also had junmai ginjo (bronze characters, oddly no back label with date), and a pricey black label junmai daiginjo in a box.
I thought I'd start with this sort of entry level bottle, before taking a leap with the pricier options. (Not that I have any place to corkage it anyway... sigh)
Any thoughts @ChuToroZuke? Any more information about the company, its history and reputation? I think this brand gets overshadowed by some of the other names on this list, but I'm quite happy I came across it! I believe I've had Miyaizumi 宮泉 before, but this is my first time trying Sharaku.
@localtaste Oh interesting I didn't even consider that it was in Manhattan - though unfortunately it seems like there's been a mixup as I'm based in Atlanta and only have the opportunity to take occasional trips to NYC though when we do visit we tend to stay in the noho/lower east side/alphabet city area so will be quite convenient! If we get the opportunity to visit soon will definitely keep you posted but like so many others during this time we've been in lockdown to minimise the spread of covid.
Still truly appreciated though, when responsibility keeps us at home the correspondence here is a small solace from the outside world!
@guest wow I have to agree with the OP guest, unagi shun one of the most overrated unagi imo, it’s not bad but nothing special to travelled all that way from Tokyo can definitely find as good or better within Tokyo.
Thank you Saito-san. Your sense of humor and clever wit today is at its finest! I appreciate a good joke, haha. (facepalm on the Shinkansen tip) I will swim out to Suruga Bay if I have to. I was thinking of stopping in Fujinomiya on the way back.
So another recommendation of gyokuro. I guess I'll have to have some then. Will look forward to the post meal tea. And also took down your suggestion @localtaste. I thought Yame Gyokuro was the famous variety, but I guess Shizuoka must have something on par.
Hi, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The concierge was lovely, even though they failed to get seats at Tenzushi - which we were told should be done more than 3 months in advance. Hotel was a bit old but decent for the price range.
Also just to provide a report on Chisou Nakamura. Lovely kaiseki meal with modern touches here and there. Nakamura-san was also a great host despite speaking very little English. Really appreciated how he tried to joke with us and use Google Translate to show us rare ingredients during the meal. Would definitely recommend
I'm actually very drawn in by a restaurant owner's 'story'. When I bought my Tokyo Michelin guidebook in 2012 or so, the thing that stuck out most in my mind about their writing, was when they (as though going on a tangent) comment on how the chef is a fisherman that likes to adventure, and goes out to find their own ingredients, or spent years endeavoring to open their own place, etc... I like that sort of thing, when they describe the personality and background of the person.
These days, I'm starting to grow more interested in trying local sake, rather than big name labels. It's exciting, and I feel more like an insider, and less like a tourist. However, I will say that well known brands are useful to 2 things: 1) impressing people when you bring a bottle back as a gift that they know is hard to get. And 2) it's more exciting to try something that you've seen over and over again, that you eventually come to recognize. If you try a sake that you only just saw for the first time, it might taste great, but it's difficult to feel as excited when you haven't spent a sufficient amount of time memorizing it, getting hyped about wanting to try, and eventually committing yourself to seeking it out.
On another note, because of your reference to katsuo shuto, I curiously asked my local sushi ya about it, and he brought out his secret personal stash for me to try, with some Denshu. Stuff stinks (haha), but really does go well with sake.