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Melbourne, VIC

S U S H I  D A I

Les Petites Choses


Kelven Ng

When we decided to go to Japan, we had food at the forefront of our thoughts. So when we asked people where some of the best places for sushi was, we were excited that we had so many options. One of which is more well known amongst tourists - Sushi Dai. Located in the Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Dai is known as one of the top 2 sushi-ya's there. The omakase was for 3,900 yen which translates to roughly $40 USD. For fish that is as fresh as it could get, prepared by masters in their craft, it's not a bad deal right? The only catch? You have to get there early. We'll get into that in a second.

We were lucky enough to be staying in the Shiodome area so the fish market was only a short walk. Good thing because our phone alarm woke us up at 3:00am and we arrived at Sushi Dai by 4:00am. So we thought we would be keeners and get in the first round (the restaurant opens at 5:00am). Boy were we wrong. We got there only to see about 30 people already in the line-up. Sushi Dai is counter seating only which is very common for independent sushi restaurants in Japan. The problem is, they only seated about 10-12 people at a time. We waited and waited and waited... We thought at one point that we were going to get in for the second round for sure at 6am but we were the last couple that didn't make it :( I must say... it was a great experience waiting in front of the windows, watching others eat that delicious looking sushi. We made it in by 7am and by that point, we were not only starving but cold as well.

To be honest, the omakase at Sushi Dai impressed us. The meal included 12 pieces of nigiri which were definitely bigger in quantity (both in rice and in fish) than most other traditional spots. No, it was not as refined as Daisan Harumi or Sushi Iwa which we had the previous 2 nights but the quality of fish was there. We came here with a bit of skepticism. This was a touristy spot after all. But we were left satisfied and honestly feeling like our 3 hour wait was worth it. I personally loved the horse mackeral and o-toro. So impressive and fatty, the o-toro just melts in your mouth. It really is unlike any tuna you get in North America where its texture just doesn't hold and disintegrates rather than melts if that makes sense. The uni, while it wasn't the best we had in Japan, was delicious, had a super creamy texture that was rich and sweet. Of all the sushi restaurants we have been to, the only one in North America that we could definitely say is better than Sushi Dai may be Sushi Yasuda in New York. But then you're looking at a price difference of $40 USD versus $200 USD per person. So, to conclude, would we come back? Definitely! I just hope we don't have to wait in line for 3 hours again next time...

Sushi Dai

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Market Building No. 6
Tokyo, Japan