Sushi Kimura (㐂邑)
Among the twenty Michelin-starred sushiyas in Tokyo, nearly 90% are traditional Edomae sushiyas attracting millions of sushi lovers from all around the world. Had been granted two stars by the red book and had become the talk of the town, Sushi Kimura contributes to the minority of 10% by serving unique aged fish at the best.
Resided in the native residential area in Futago Tamagawa, just within 5 minutes walk from the nearest train station. Like most other high-end sushi places in Japan, Kimura is a tiny sushiya that serves only Omakase menu. Currently running by the third generation, chef Kimura has his unique understanding of sushi - he specialised in using aged fish for his nigiri sushi through his developed technique, and you may not get your favourite Maguro since Chef Kimura found it's just a hype.
One of the most significant advantage of aging fish is that, since the aging process breaks down the protein of the fish, the texture of the fish will become more tender and spongy, the flavor is too lifted. While i never had a sushi meal consists of only aged fish. Accompany by the truth that the restaurant doesn't take reservations without a referral, even with that, it is always fully booked. I was so excited to visit this place.
Sushi Kimura offers Omakase sushi menu at a reasonable price of 16,000 yen without drinks, which is nearly half of the price than sushiyas in Ginza at similar standard. Opened for both lunch and dinner, Kimura runs a two-seating policy for dinner and we got the first round from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
Chef Kimura-san greeted us with a 90-degree bow and a warm smile once we stepped into the restaurant, followed by wet towels serving by Kimura-san's mom. Their impeccable hospitality was distinctive from a lot of sushiya i had been in Japan, i felt like eating at their home and the following two hours were indeed full of happiness although we don't know each other with the guests next to us.
蛤のスープ / Hamaguri soup
Kiruma's tsumami (appetizers) was magnificent. We started with a small cup of clear Hamaguri soup (clam soup) to open our palates, clean but umami.
藁焼き蛤 / Warayaki-smoked clam
鯨 / Whale with spicy paste
So-called beef from the ocean, the whale meat was definitely a highlight. The meat was succulent and flavorful, fat part was incredibly rich and creamy - imagine eating a slice of pure butter or lard! Indeed it tastes more like meat rather than fish, the fermented spice paste gives a kick to the bite.
鮎のペスト / Ayu (sweet fish) paste
アナゴの白焼き / Grilled Anago
I really enjoyed the Warayaki Anago which has a great smoked aroma, the eel itself was soft and melt-in mouth-tenderness, the skin has an opponent 'gari gari' texture - crispy with a chewy hint.
鮑のリゾット / Kuro-Awabi (Black abalone) Risotto
Although I'm not a big fan of Yoshitake's nigiri or his oversea branch Sushi Shikon in Hong Kong, I have to say their abalone with abalone liver paste was a legend. However it was nothing compare to the abalone risotto one from Kimura. By using shari before vingared to give more room for the taste of abalone liver sauce, each al dante grain absorbs the deep flavors from the abalone liver. The black abalone was also perfectly-cooked. I felt in love since the very first bite - so aromatic, textural and flavorful. Only complain here was the sharp chopstick is so hard to eat with even for a pure Chinese.
スープ / Soup
Chef Kimura cooked all the left bones, organs, heads of the fish he purchased on the day (aging for the guests in the future) together and the outcome was this small cup of soup. It was unexpected creamy and umami, the aftertaste was unforgettable.
舎利と海苔 / Shari and nori
新生姜のガリ / Pickled young ginger
1. 鯛昆布締め / Tai with Kombu (10 days aging)
The aging process varies depends on different kinds of fish, it may take short from two days to longer three or even four months. The nigiri part started with the less-aged fish such as Tai (sea bream) with Kombu, which has a cleaner and ligher taste, in compare to the slightly fattier ang more flavorful Amadai (red sea bream) aged for 2 weeks.
2.甘鯛 / Amadai (2 weeks aging)
3. 真子鰈 / Karei
4.春子 昆布〆 / Kasugo with kombu
5. 鯵 / Aji (3 weeks aging)
One of the most impressive Aji i have had so far. The fish was extremely tender and high in flavor, the moderate oil contents was so delicious. Sharp white shari may not balance well with the high-flavored aged fish, while milder Akashari might be underwhelming. Here, Chef Kimura's uses sharper and larger Akashari to match the fish.
6. ホッキ貝 / Hokkigai (non-aging)
7.金目鯛 / Kinmedai (3 weeks aging)
8.鰯 / Dried Iwashi
All the fish was so perfectly-done, i especially liked the soft and light texture of the fish. My favorite at this point is certainly Aji, followed by Iwashi, Kinme and Amadai, as well as Kasugo. Chef Kimura did work hard on the shari part as well, the tastes of shari was too right to point. However, to me, the shari was way too big - possibly the largest nigiri sushi i have had. To some point i found it a bit overpowering since the flavors were high :(
雲丹 Uni (aged for 7 days)
Next was a uni platter consists of three kinds of uni with different origins but all had been aged for one week. Including uni from Izumi (出水市), Akumi (飽海郡) andImabari (今治市), which all have different textures and tastes. My favorite was the one from Izumi of Kagoshima - the creamist and sweetiest among all three.
Uni from Imabari (今治市)
Uni from Akumi (飽海郡)
Uni from Izumi (出水市) of Kagoshima
9. 鮑 / Awabi (non-aging)
The abalone was another memorable one. It arrives with a mouth-watering fragrance, it was wonderfully steamed allow it to showcases its best. So tender and slightly rubbery.
10. カジキ / Kajiki (50 days aging)
Chef Kimura's legendary Kajiki was indeed extraordinary. Kajiki, or blue marlin, is rarely used by sushi chef in Japan. This was also my first time having Kajiki nigiri and the experience was out-of-world, so spongy that melt on my tough in few seconds. Insane.
11. 穴子 / Anago (tsume)
To end the meal, we were served a piece of warm grilled anago with tsume (sweet sauce), loved its delicious crust and soft inside. Tamago (egg custard) was spongy too tasty.
玉子 / Tamago
As mentioned, the aged fish was no doubt flawless and you can rarely find another sushiya specialised in quality aged fish like Kimura does. While the shari was a bit hard, dry and large for my liking. I felt quite stuffing half-way which rarely happened to me when i was eating sushi. I didn't requested for smaller shari nor sashimi only as it is offensive and imbalance.
I do appreciate Chef Kimura-san's unique philosophy, but i am afraid it doesn't work for everyone. It is hard to compare Fuji Apple with Granny Smith, so i cannot say it is better or worse than Edomae sushi - it really depends on personal taste. At least for me, i prefer visiting more Edomae sushiya but occasionally an aged-meal also works.
Overall the entire meal was pretty worth-of-value. Put aside the food, i haven't had such an entertaining meal in a long while. Most Japanese chefs are so shy but Kimura-san is truly friendly and easy-going.
Sushi Kimura (㐂邑)
Visited: July.2016 (Dinner)
Hours: 12-2pm (Wed. and Sun,), 5:30-7:30pm and 7:30-10pm (two seatings), closed on Mondays