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.
I follow Asakura san on social media and have seen the congratulatory flower bouquets sent by fellow industry restaurant owners (as well as gifts of sake and wine). To make it in Ginza he has to keep that current format and approach, and the Omakase reservation website listing for Komon (Japanese page) did allude to the fact that the previous Ginza location had to be closed as the entire building was to be demolished, hence a relocation. It's going to be very competitive for sure, and I wish them the very best. In the future I would love to go visit them and try as well as re-evaluate their sake pairings, but I do miss that vibe in Kugayama at their original location, the atmosphere, and its intimacy. On a side note, I also want to try his other restaurants, including the Toranomon eatery that does simpler more accessible food like oden. If and when I do go to the Ginza location, I will keep an open mind and try not to compare it to anything else (perhaps not even set an expectation of kaiseki), and just enjoy the experience.
I am not sure about the accuracy of the following information from an online source but it seems to make some sense and explains a few other things.
Sometime after World War Two, sushi restaurants in Tokyo started carrying maybe 2 or 3 kinds of sake at most. Before that, sake was not served at sushi restaurants, simply because people went to those places for sushi, and if they wanted sake they would go elsewhere. What's interesting is that the cold sake of choice at these post WWII sushi restaurants was almost always the brand Kamotsuru from Hiroshima (and hot sake was Kiku Masamune). This might partially explain why Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten carries (or carried) the small bottle of Kamotsuru Tokusen Daiginjo as their only sake offering. This is also to carry on that part of the tradition from back in the post WWII old days, unlike sushi omakase of today where there are upwards of 10 to 12 otsumami, then 10 to 12 pieces nigiri, with places that can carry 30+ different sake (eg. Sugita or arguably Kurosaki), where if you ask for recommended sake pairing, there would be upwards of 8 different pours just to match specific courses.
Also even back 20++ years ago, one would not go to a high end sushi restaurant and linger around drinking, hence keeping smaller sake selections (the etiquette would be not to get wasted from alcohol, and if a customer wanted to drink more they should be going to a bar). And even 20 years ago, supposedly many high end sushi restaurants would not have high end sake selections (and out of those perhaps one would carry Kubota and Juyondai).
So for Sukiyabashi Jiro and his sons to keep this specific part of the tradition and that part of time in history, ie one small sake that is symbolic with that period, to keep the focus entirely on sushi, so customers don't linger and concentrate on the sushi experience, is really commendable, even if it is a style perhaps not everyone might agree with. Makes me appreciate Sukiyabashi Jiro even more for what they are doing in keeping this historical perspective and insistence.
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Thanks so much for the report back Shi, and for your support of sake and the industry! I recently used the same Riedel Junmai glasses again after not using them for a while, and was surprised at the results. It seems to work particularly well with the newer seasonal releases of fall/autumn sake (more so if they are Jumai), so give it a try with those.
Hi. Thanks for the insight on subtle language nuances.
I am clearly not a master at lines, as I wouldn't arrive late, and get stuck waiting if that was the case, haha.
In the case of Tomato Curry, I would have appreciated a bit more 'caring' human treatment, in an attempt to help a little bit on the part of the lady. I believe she might be the chef's wife. As a customer, you've invested in waiting a long time in line for them, the least she can do is speak to us for a few seconds. Rather than just leaving people in line with no answers. After her brief nod and apology, she wouldn't listen to anything else we asked, quickly walked away, and went back inside. Basically ignoring us. At most, she might gesture her hand, to please wait in line. And it was a Japanese speaker with me, who was trying to talk to her. I've never encountered this level of casually dismissing someone in Tokyo. I waited 2 hours, and was treated like this, before I ran out of time. Apologize, as I realize I am now ranting. Mostly all the waiting line establishments I've gone have been very professional, or at least kind. I value kindness.