I cannot remember how many times i had dreamt about Sushi Saito – a Michelin three star sushiya and also the top sushiya in Japan according to Tabelog. I attempted to make a reservation by myself but the line was busy forever. Thanks to a foodie friend who got a reservation for me.
First of all, you have to know that there are actually two different seatings at Saito: one side by Saito himself, and another private room handled by Saito’s disciple Shion-san (詩音しおん). I didn’t manage to get a reservation at the Saito side but i still made this Tokyo trip for this place as i know i can get a reservation on Saito side for my next visit. And luckily i got it.
Although this may not be a complete Saito experience, it was a lovely experience.
Date: Mar.29.2016 (Lunch)
Address:東京都港区六本木1-4-5 アークヒルズサウスタワー 1Ｆ
Hours:12:00～14:00, 17:00～23:00, Closed on Sundays
Cost: Lunch JPY 5000+(10pcs), 10000+(15pcs), 15000+ (18pcs); Dinner Omakase 25000+
Before i entering the private room, i peep Saito side and i was surprised that it is an empty room. I was told Saito-san cancelled all his guest for lunch because he has something emergency to deal with. I somehow feel ‘lucky’ that i didn’t booked Saito himself, otherwise i cannot even get a chance to eat there. Both rooms are very Zen, bright and clean. There are 8 seats at the L shape counter in the private room, with the young chef Shion-san standing behind the counter. Lunch menu is avaiable at JPY 5000, 10000, and 15000 come with 10, 15 and 18 pieces of sushi respectively. Dinner omakase menu is also availble during lunch time. I had the dinner menu.
Six tsumami (appetizers) were served first. I really loved the Shiro-ebi (white baby shrimp) which was clean, incredibly creamy and sweet. Followed by cooked tako and awabi (octopus and abalone) , the tako has a sweet hint and chewy, the abalone was rubbery but very tender at the same time – both were packed of oceanic flavors.
The third appetizer was also beautiful – wonderuflly cooked Yari-ika wtih chulk full of roes and eggs inside its belly. So delicious with the sauce. Followed by a dish of fresh and juicy Kegani with a lovely sweet after taste. How i wish i can have the entire big crab 🙂
Next comes my favorite monkfish liver, this is the last season to eat monkfish liver and obviouslu not the best time, but i really enjoyed the creamy and umami flavors. The last tsumami was a fillet of grilled Nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch), tender and delicious, side by grated daikon to balance the flavor and cleanse palate. Now ready for nigiri.
The first piece was Tai, which has a fresh and clear flavor. Shari was well-shaped and each grain was in different directions that exploded in my month very soon. I liked the flavor of shari which was balanced-well, not very sharp and matches well with the neta (fish).
Kinmedai was pretty oily and creamy, but surprisingly clean. Kohada has a mild savory flavor that was not too sharp.
Followed by three pieces of tuna. Maguro was clear and has s deep flavor, i much prefer the Chu-toro which was higher in oil contents and quite delicious. Otoro was unexpectedly clean but very creamy at the same time, impressive.
Sumi-ika was chewy but i expected it to be more creamy. But i still enjoyed its sweet aftertaste with a bit savory taste from the salt on top.
Followed by my dearly Kuruma Ebi (premium Japanese prawn), quite large in size and very tender. It was packed of umami flavors with a sweet twist. Probably my favorite piece together with Otoro, added one more piece of Kuruma Ebi at last.
Spring is the best season to eat young Katsuo, or Hastugatsuo in Japanese. This slice of Hastugatsuo was lean but high in flavor, awesome.
It is not hard to tell how tender it is from its transparent flesh. It was moderate in fat and deep in flavor. Enjoyable.
Followed by two pieces of nigiri wrapped with nori (seaweed). Kobashira didn’t impressed me much but i really loved the uni (sea urchin), so creamy and delicious, with a dreamy sweet aftertaste. However, i was quite disappointing with the nori here, i shoot for 5s only and it was no more crispy. Maybe my bad but i don’t think a good seaweed would become soft so fast. At least i never had any experience like this before at a top sushiya.
This is a wonderfull piece of tamago (Japanese sweet egg omelete). Not a typical jelly-like, sponge cake or dashi-maki, the texture was in between the sponge and jelly, firmer and the sweetness was just right to point. See its wonderfull bottom!
Added one more piece of uni because the uni itself was superb. (Forget about the nori)
Here, i cannot judge too much before i never tried Saito-san’s work.What i can say here is that, the flavor of shari is right to point, neta was fresh and delicious. The coherence was not bad actually, but i found the sushi didn’t surprised me much, the appetizers were really memerable. Quite nice ambiance and all the rest guests were Japanese, Shion-san and his helpers are very friendly. Overall a nice experience, most importantly, i got my next reservation at the real Saito. Cannot wait…!
For reservations, i also tried hundred of time to call by myself and i even went to Sushi Saito to make a reservation, all attempts failed. I have no idea about whether a top hotel concierge helps because i had lived in Tokyo for a while. What i suggest here is to ask a friend who have been to Saito to take you there.