Sushi Imamura 鮨いまむら
Sushi Imamura has been on my list for a long while since couple of my superfoodie friends highly recommended it. While i didn't managed to visit Imamura simply because there were much more prestige restaurants on top of my list, and i always want to try different cuisines each trip. Whatever, i finally made it.
Located in a residential neighbourhood in Shirokane in Minato-ku, Tokyo, where very few upscale restaurants located especially sushiyas, the one-Michelin-starred Sushi Imamura is one of the local's favorite sushiyas in Tokyo. I was quite shocked when the chef-owner Imamura-san told me that he had never trained at any sushiyas in Japan before he opened Sushi Imamura with his wife in 2009. Even so, Chef Imamura-san's great skills in processing fish and making his own shari has been affirmed by both Michelin groups and his regular customers.
At the 8-seat counter with Chef Imamura-san working in front of us, 7 guests were Japaanese (except me), and i found all of them are regular guests. Chef's wife assists him by serving drinks and doing the cashier. The ambiance was so warm life being treated at the chef's home, accompany by quality food he served, it is not hard to tell why Sushi Imamura is favored by so many people.
In the mean while, this doesn't mean the food here is for everyone.
The meal started with 8 Tsumami (appetizers) includes two sashimi, five cold dishes and a grilled dish. I liked the Buri sashimi which is one of my favorite fish in season. Its skin was slightly grilled left the rest part raw. It was a mouthful of creamy and umami.
I wasn't surprised by the following dishes until the uni with botan ebi was served. It was as marvellous as it looks! The grilled Anago (sea eel) was great, i liked the crispy skin but unfortunately, chef put too much salt on the top.
Nigiri sushi part started with Aji, a higher flavored silver fish which usually served later in the meal. I found the shari (sushi rice) was warmer than body temperature and was quite sticky from the first piece. The thick cut of Aji fish was lack of flavors, and too cold to match the shari. Despite the creaminess of the second piece, botan ebi, has quite weak sweetness to lift the weak shari. The following few pieces were neither as pleasant as i expected until the chu-toro to arrived.
I am not that crazy about toro but this piece of Chutoro was much more satisfying than the previous pieces. The fatty, creamy fish lied on the shari bed beautifully. The taste was deep enough the left a mouthful of oceanic flavors. The stronger-taste Kohada was served next at an opportune moment, loved its strong sourness.
Sayori was another piece that i like - so tender and the scalions & ginger give enhanced the aroma of the entire bite. Kuruma-ebi is always one of my favorite nigiri, unfortunately, it was dry and lean, also lack of fragrant.
It is hard to go wrong with uni. Crispy nori (seaweed) and creamily sweet uni on top of shari, here i was glad that the shari at this point was no more sticky. The entire bite was quite indulgent. Anago, another of my favorite piece. Unfortunately, it wasn't well-process that it has a foul smell although the texture was incredible.
The last part of the meal was as sweet as it looks. The tamago (egg) was so soft and moist, the sweetness was right to point - i couldn't stop myself asking for a second, then a third piece. This was the only one that i asked for additional. Dessert was Hojicha ice-cream with Kinako (baked soy bean powder), it was surprdingly good!
My experience at Sushi Imamura was below expectation, especially the sushi part. Imamura-san's nigiri was quite large in size for my liking (which wasn't a real problem), but the weak and sticky shari ain't really sync with his thick cuts of fish, which mostly are weak in their own tastes and lack of seasoning (processing) as well. Better pieces includes Sayori, Tamago, Uni, Churoto, and the dessert ice cream.