Sushi Arai (鮨あらい)
Sushi Arai is currently one of the hottest sushiya in Tokyo. The chef-owner Arai-san has a strong background of working at the famous sushiya Kyube in Ginza as well as Sushi Sho in Yotsuya, no wonder it becomes a topic in town since it opened in late 2015. At that time, Arai-san was only 33 years old, whose exquisite skills were granted by his first Michelin star in less than one year since the restaurant has been opened. It also won the Tabelog Gold Prize in 2017.
No matter seating at the 7-seat counter or the 7-seat private room, the bright and comfortable space inside the restaurant gives diners a feeling of being cut off from the outside world of the busiest streets in Ginza.
I was luckily sitting in the center of counter with Arai-san standing in front of me. All the ingredients for nigiri were shown on the boards behind Arai-san. My first visit was in February - the best time to eat Spring produces! Other than the seasonal produces, Sushi Arai is actually most well-known for maguro (tuna). Throw back to the meal, 6 out of 19 pieces of nigiri sushi were maguro.
Chef Arai-san greeted me with a warm smiling face. After serving hot towels and tea, i was asked to choose between the lunch course or dinner course. I always love to have ostumami (appetziers) with some drinks to awaken my stomach before having nigiri sushi. I decided to have dinner Omakase course without a second thinking.
The meal started with 9 otsumami, followed by 19 pieces nigiri and 1 tamago egg. I also had 2 additional pieces of nigiri which i really liked.
At Sushi Arai, chef Arai-san blanded his shari with akazu (red vinegar). Compare to other sushiyas serving sushi with aka-shari, i think the tastes here is slightly weaker. Both my sushi-lover-companion and i didn't find the sushi really surprised us for the same reason. Our favorite pieces were Kohada (marinated), Anago (with tsume sweet sauce), and Uni (really fresh and sweet). Even though we didn't shock by the nigiri, I really enjoyed meal at Sushi Arai because of the comfortable atmosphere, incredible friendly chef, and overall flawless food.