Friday, June 24, 2005

Sushi Kanesaka, Ginza, Tokyo

What can be said of a serious food find? Words fail at every turn. I hope that some of these pictures serve to convey the pure joy we experienced when we encountered Mr. Kanesaka's secret mission to raise the game on sushi-land. When he opened his namesake sushi hole-in-the-wall five years ago, he was by far the youngest sushi chef to have reached this level of achievement, especially given that his shop is located in the prestigious and highly competitive Ginza district. Today, at a youthful 33 years, he remains the youngest among his peers.

Good sushi restaurants are intimate by nature, and Kanesaka is more intimate than most. We sat in easy striking distance of the chef's beautiful sushi knife, making it a really cozy situation. The staff was young, friendly, and although respectful there was not the sometime stuffiness that often pervades really good sushi establishments. Over and above the standard service was the chef's attitude. Kanesaka-san was very interactive throughout the meal, often inquiring into his 'performance' by seeking feedback on individual sushi served. This level of open-mindedness in sushi chefs is hard to find.

Here's a great part of this review. Legend has it that when Kanesaka-san started out, being the youngest chef on the block, he felt he had to stay true to his beliefs that sushi cannot be about quality compromises. He had to have the best. So he started outbidding all other buyers, daily, at the Tsukiji market, and ended up building a solid reputation for having the finest produce in the industry.

The omakase was well composed, without the usual overweight of sashimi. The torigai was the freshest we've ever tasted, and two types of uni were used separately for sashimi and sushi. I've never seen a chef prepare uni sushi by peeling entire pieces of uni to lay on top of rice! This was good quality ingredients.

Very reasonable for top quality sushi; omakase without wine brings you to roughly JPY20k+ per person.

Overall Rating:
3 burps out of 3. So good that we went back the immediate next day. Highly recommended.