Sukiyabashi Jiro is no doubt the most famous sushiya (sushi restaurant) worldwide, which is also the dreaming place for most of the sushi lovers. It has two branches in Tokyo, the second store in Roppongi which is controlled by the younger son. The original store (honten) in Ginza is awarded 3 Michelin stars, the owner and master chef, 89-year-old Jiro Ono, was featured in the 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Many regard him as the world’s best sushi chef. Sukiyabashi Jiro is also one of Asia’a Best 50 Restaurants.
Visited: May.20.2015 (Dinner)
Address: Tsukamoto Sogyo Building, Basement 1st Floor,2-15, Ginza 4-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan 東京都中央区銀座4-2-15 塚本総業ビルB1F
Hours:11:30-14:00 ; 17:30-20:30 (Closed on: Sundays, public holidays, Saturday evenings, mid-August, and Year-end holidays)
Price/Menu: 30,000 Omakase only
Jiro opens for both lunch and dinner, the small sushi place can only fit 23 diners everytime. Reservation is really hard, it is almost impossible if you call the restaurant by yourself, i have tried thousands of times bymyself. The best way is to ask your hotel concierge to book for you. I stayed with Conrad Tokyo, I told them the length of my stay in Tokyo, and ask them to book any day any meal as long as there’s seat available. Besides Conrad, i have also heard good things happened at Capital, Hyatt, Pennisula, Mandarin Oriental.
Even if you get a reservation, it doesn’t means that the father Jiro himself will be at the restaurant. Sometimes he is not there as he has to go health check. Otherwise, his older son takes care of the restaurant.
There is no second option of menu at Jiro, only one Omakase set priced at 30,000 JPY is served, which includes 18 pieces of sushi. I am sure you have heard good stories about the food here, but really bad stories about the service and entire experiences. Usually eating at a sushiya, especially michelin-starred, you can take your time and enjoy your meal with a drink, but Jiro is really a ‘Fast’ food compare to other famous sushiyas.
My reservation was at 5:30 pm and the meal starts at 5:40. Pictures taken by phones and camera are allow, but only of sushi. You cannot take pictures of the decor, the people, nor the appetizers. My dinner start with some broiled edamame.
I was soon served the first piece, Karei (flat fish). It has a clean taste, but the fish itself has so many tendons thus a little bit disappointing. The shari was in body temperature, every single grain was ‘fat’ and chewy, the flavor of the shari balanced well.
The second piece, Ika, was much better than the previous one. It was tender and the texture became much richer as you chewy it, i enjoyed the sweet aftertaste as well.
Inada is a kind of very young fish from the Yellowtail family. The youngest fish to the mature fish in the Yellowtail family: Yazu – Innada, Hamachi, Mejiro and Buri. The one we usually have is Hamachi or Buri. It was my first time have Inada, it was incredibly tender, umami but very clean.
The Akami was not my type, missed Tokami‘s tuna at this point.
Chu-toro is always my favorite piece among all the toro nigiri. The quality of the fish is not doubt high, rich and high in flavor, it was soon melted on my tongue. The balance between the fish and rice was consistently good at Jiro, although sometimes there were 1-2 rice left on the plate.
The lard of the sea, it was so indulgent but enjoyable to have it melting in my mouth. The oils perfectly combines with the shari, it has a very deep flavor. One of the best otoro experience.
The Kohada is always served after otoro, and always one of my favorite piece. It was marinated in vinegar, thus was high in flavor, quite refreshing after the fatty tuna. But it was a bit tough compare to Harutaka‘s.
The abalone came with a very lovely fragrance, it was steamed well, very tender and umami.
Tender, moderate oil content, nice.
The prawn was large and very juicy, love the sweet aftertaste.
The most impressive piece of the meal was Shako, the mantis shrimp. There was generous portion of shrimp roe under its belly, the shrimp itself was very juicy and tender, the sweet soy sauce perfectly enhanced the flavor.
The uni was very sweet and watery, loved it so much.
The shape of the sushi was not very appealing, the salmon roes were fresh, sweet and popping on my tongue. While the portion could be bigger.
The anago was warm and melt-in-mouth tenderness, the sweet soy sauce balance well.
Tamago is always my favorite, as a ‘sweet ending’. Jiro’s tamago was warm and moist, the balance between the sweetness and umami shrimp flavor was perfect.
Jiro’s shari is more sour than other sushiya i have been to, the size of nigiri might be quite stuffing after 18 pieces. No doubt top quality and every piece was quite harmony, although personally think slightly heavier in taste. However, the entire experience was not very enjoyable. I love to sit down, have a drink and eat my sushi, talk to the chef and my friends occasionally. But here, you have no time to communicate at all. To me it is somehow like fast food – even faster than Tsukiji market.
A lot of people (especially white) says this is the best sushi on this planet, well, i don’t agree. Also, i am not very happy to pay 35000 JPY for a 30 minute meal and the food was not surpringly good as i expected. Personal taste and preferenece do varies, at least i won’t revist this place in a few years.