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Melbourne, VIC
Australia

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Les Petites Choses

Filtering by Category: "Omakase"

S U S H I I W A

Kelven

First post by Janice, Yay!!


While Daisan Harumi was a pretty satisfying first sushi meal in Tokyo, we were really excited and couldn't wait to go try out Sushi Iwa. Prior to the trip, we had done quite a bit of research and came across a blog post on this one Michelin star restaurant. We were quite lucky in getting a dinner booking despite calling maybe only a week or two in advance. Since there are only about 6 seats available, reservations are a must.

Sushi Iwa
Tokyo , Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-5-25 second Sanyu Building 1F


Located in stylish and high-end Ginza area, Sushi Iwa was not the easiest to find but we managed (nothing was going to get in our way of this meal!). Once we sat down, we ordered some warm sake and the chef began to serve us the sashimi. After the first few slices, both Kelven and I already knew that this was quite a bit better than what we had a Daisan Harumi. It's amazing how for a pretty similar price range, that Sushi Iwa was miles ahead in terms of freshness and taste. Ironically enough, Daisan Harumi was actually ranked higher on Tabelog than Sushi Iwa was - it goes to show you that taste in food can be subjective.


After the sashimi, the chef began proceeded to prepare the sushi for us. We were both mesmerized by how precise he was, from dabbing exactly two drops of soya sauce to only two quick shavings of lemon zest for specific pieces. Kelven has never quite enjoyed ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin) or any kind of fish liver. Lucky for us, they served us all three during the meal and I must say they were the highlights of the meal. Even Kelven had to agree this was pretty good because it tasted so fresh. The uni was so sweet and creamy that it melted in your mouth without that bitter taste that we sometimes taste in uni back home. We thoroughly enjoyed each item offered and were quite full by the time the tamago came around. I will let the pictures speak for themselves :)~ .


The other best part of the meal was the amount of good sake we had. We had originally ordered only one small bottle between the two of us. But within minutes of us sitting down, an older Japanese gentleman who was dining alone on Kelven's right began talking to us and offering us some of his sake. His reason for offering us his sake was that he believed this sake to be one of the best in Japan and that he wanted to welcome us to this beautiful country (how nice of him!!). You could tell he was really enjoying his meal and despite dining alone, he was having a lot of fun talking to us. When he left, the chef actually told us that we probably wouldn't want to know how much that sake cost. That got us really curious so he finally told us that the bottle of sake could easily go for $150USD a bottle.

Whilst Kelven was talking to the Japanese gentleman on his right and we were trying the sake, the gentleman on my left began to talk to me. I could hear from his conversations with his daughter and his wife earlier that they were on vacation from Hong Kong, so I quickly introduced myself in Chinese. They were delighted to find out that I can speak Cantonese and within seconds, he too offered us some sake from the bottle they brought to dinner (which also happens to be about $150 a bottle).

With the amount of good food and sake we had, this was easily one of the most memorable meals of our trip. I also rank this above any of the sushi restaurants we have tried to date (including Sushi Yasuda in New York and any in North America). A picture with the master chef was a must!

D A I S A N H A R U M I

Kelven

When we were planning for our trip to Japan, the key thing that we had in mind was food. Where were we going to get some great food and how do we get it. That was the key question. Me and Janice are sushi lovers so naturally, when we were planning to go to Japan, we were at a loss as to which sushi-ya to try. While we would have loved to give Saito, Sawada, Mizutani or Jiro a try, we could only afford to eat at that level so many times before we went way over our budget. We read about Daisan Harumi as a cheaper and easier to book alternative so we thought we would give it a try. This place was no slouch either, being ranked the 19th best sushi restaurant in Tokyo by Tabelog (Japanese review site) in October 2013.

Daisan Harumi
Tokyo, Minato-ku, Shinbashi 1-17-7


This was our first taste of Japan as we arrived in Narita at 5pm and our reservation was at 7:30pm – let’s just say it was a mad rush to get there on time. We did not even have the time to go to the hotel to drop our bags off so unfortunately we carried our two big luggages with us into the restaurant – they were nice enough to accommodate though I would not recommend doing that (restaurants in Japan are typically very, very small). We went with the omakase (chef’s specialty/choice) as we often do at any good sushi restaurant. We started with sashimi which included Ika, Red Snapper, and Flounder. We then feasted on an assortment of nigiri to get an idea of the amazing variety that Japan is privy to. One of my favourite dishes surprisingly was the grilled unagi however. Small bite size pieces which just melted in your mouth. The smokiness from the grilled char marks was delicious! Daisan Harumi is a fairly foreigner friendly intro to high end sushi – the chef’s assistant even brought out cards which explained the types of fish that we were eating in English! The chef himself though, did not speak very much English at all so conversation during the meal was a bit difficult.

The meal was a good one to get us started in our culinary journey in Japan but over the course of our trip, we started to realize that we did not enjoy Daisan Harumi as much as we did other restaurants. The price per person was about $185 USD and for that amount, while we were relatively full, we did not get blown away by the food. Perhaps we are sushi snobs and had very high expectations and therefore we left a bit underwhelmed. Still, compared to Shiro’s in Seattle and Sushi Sam’s in San Francisco, Daisan Harumi ranks right up there with the two of them. Sushi Yasuda in New York served sushi that was more to our liking however. We went to five different sushi restaurants on our trip and here’s how I would rank them:

1. Sushi Iwa (by a country mile)
2. Sushi Dai
3. Daisan Harumi
4. Sushi Midori
5. Sushi Zanmai