Sukiyabashi Jiro These Days
I was wondering if it might be getting easier to make reservations at the renowned Sukiyabashi Jiro (the main restaurant) due to the influence of COVID-19.
Therefore, one day, I called the restaurant and found out that, as expected, reservations could be accepted (although it would be about a month in advance).
Jiro-san, who will turn 96 this month, will still be standing at the counter making sushi, although it will depend on his health on the day of the event.
(Still, unless you are a regular customer, there is no guarantee that Mr. Jiro-san is making sushi for you that day.)
When I told them that I wanted to make a reservation, the apprentice on the phone enumerated the following 12 points of note and made me promise to comply with them.
1. Only omakase (chef’s choice) nigirizushi is on offer.
2. The price is from ￥50,000 per person (may be higher depending on the purchase situation on the day).
3. Cancellations or reservation changes must be made at least 4 days before the visit.
4. A ￥20,000 cancellation fee will be charged for cancellations less than 3 days in advance.
5. A deposit of ￥20,000 must be paid in advance at least 10 days before the visit, either by visiting the store or by mail (those whose deposit payment is not confirmed will be subject to forced cancellation).
6. Appointments must be kept on time; your appointment will be canceled if you are more than 30 minutes late.
7. Use perfume and makeup sparingly.
8. The evening session is divided into 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm and 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
9. Men are not allowed to wear collarless shirts, shorts, sweat suits, or flip-flops. If you wear a collarless shirt, please wear a jacket. Those who do not adhere to the dress code will not be admitted.
10. No filming is allowed on the premises.
11. Children must be at least 13 years old to enter the restaurant.
12. Resale of reservations is not permitted. Identity verification is performed if necessary.
Oh my god! This is the first time I have ever visited a sushi restaurant where the rules are so tightly enforced… (Obviously, it has gotten more stringent than when I visited it three years ago!)
The lengthy explanation on the phone alone made me feel a little discouraged. Still, thinking that I would not have many chances to taste Jiro-san's sushi in the future (in fact, this might be my last chance), I summoned up the courage to go out and pay the ￥20,000 deposit in Ginza, where I had no business.
The reservation date is November 2.
Will I be able to eat sushi made by Jiro-san?
I will report the results in a separate post!
Report of the visit on Nov. 2
So I went to Sukiyabashi Jiro. It's been a while since I've been there.
I open the door of the restaurant at the reserved time, give the receipt to the waitress at the entrance, and get my 20,000 yen deposit back.
From here on was the tensest moment.
I'm not a regular; I wait with a sense of resignation that I'll probably be seated in front of Jiro's eldest son Yoshikazu-san again today.
After a while, the waitress pulls out a chair and signals, "This way, please."
To the side, I see Mr. Jiro Ono, who had just celebrated his 96th birthday.
He's here today!
And best of all, he's going to be making sushi for me!
I take my seats, order my drink, and Jiro promptly starts making sushi without a word.
An elderly couple who seemed to be regulars were chatting with Yoshikazu-san at the counter next to us, and the atmosphere was more relaxed than usual.
The other customers were a little late, so it was just me and Jiro-san, one on one.
It was a luxurious dinner where I was able to enjoy the sushi of a master chef.
The following is a list of the sushi we had this time.
The aroma was wonderful.
The temperature of the rice was a little high to start.
The rice was soft, and the nigiri was perfectly salted so that it came apart softly when I put it in my mouth.
Sumika (sumi squid)
The crunchy texture was excellent. However, as soon as I ate the first piece of hirame, Jiro-san started gripping the second piece, so I honestly didn't have enough time to fully enjoy it...
Shimaaji (Striped horse mackerel)
The aroma was light, but the texture was wonderful. It matched the rice's strong acidity.
Chutoro (medium fatty tuna )
Origin unknown. The soft texture was superb.
The sourness of the rice and the fatty meat of the tuna created a wonderful harmony in my mouth.
Otoro (fatty tuna )
Marbled. I could feel the flavor of the fat, but it didn't have the same impact on my taste buds as the medium fatty tuna.
Kohada (gizzard shad.)
The work to make the fatty pieces juicy was a masterpiece. This is truly Japan's finest taste.
It was delicious!
I had no idea that abalones were so delicious this time of year. It went so well with the rice that I couldn't help but shout...
No particular impression, but the aroma was a little weak for November.
Aji (horse mackerel)
Perhaps because it's out of season, it doesn't have the punchy flavor that comes from the fat, but it is very fragrant due to its high quality.
Kuruma ebi (tiger prawn)
The size and the degree of boiling were perfect.
The prawns were juicy and not dry at all.
Akagai (bloody clam)
The aroma was a little weak.
The aroma of smoked straw was strong.
Incredible with the rice. The highest quality bonito.
Shako (mantis shrimp)
The meat was tender. But the aroma was weak and a little disappointing.
Aji (vinegared horse mackerel)
A dish that is rarely seen in other sushi restaurants. The sourness of the sauce clashed with the sourness of the rice, giving it a rather mixed feel.
Uni (sea Urchin)
It is difficult to get sea urchins due to the Kuroshio Current, but the quality it was superb!
The only thing that bothered me was the difference between the temperature of the cold sea urchin and the temperature of the rice.
Kobashira (little Scallops)
The aroma was wonderful. The crispy nori (seaweed) was also very well-sourced.
Ikura (salmon roe)
The melt-in-your-mouth flavor is just what the season calls for.
Anago (conger eel)
Perhaps because it was out of season, the meat felt a little dry. The claws that go with it were quite sweet and have an old-school taste.
Moist and delicious.
There are many young chefs who are obsessed with eggs and pursue a taste closer to dessert, but this was enough for a sushi restaurant.
While I was munching on my nigiri, Jiro-san was already starting on the next piece of sushi, a pace I struggled to keep up with at first. He was fast--finishing 18 pieces of sushi in less than 20 minutes.
Jiro-san's masterful technique of making sushi that is made tight, but loosens up when you put it in your mouth, is still alive and well.
However, I got the impression that the level of perfection varied depending on the item.
He did a great job bringing out the innate flavor of the fish without unnecessary touches. At first glance, it looks like old-school sushi, but when you taste it, there is nothing old about it at all.
This is the true essence of Sukiyabashi Jiro.
I added the Chutoro and Katsuo, which were particularly delicious, to the 18 pieces of omakase, and the bill came to 63,000 yen.
That's an extremely high price for a 15-minute meal lol.
The price has gone up about 1.5 times compared to 3-4 years ago.
It's been a while since I've had it, but after eating it for the first time in a while, I felt that this sushi is the origin and the pinnacle of Edomae sushi.
I finish my melon for dessert. I look over at Jiro-san at the counter. He had a firm expression on his face and greeted to me, "arigato gozaimashita."
He's 96 years old.
He truly is a superhuman.
It hurt my wallet a lot, though lol.
But, still I would like to visit Sukiyabashi jiro again while he is here.
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