When Mrs. Selfish and I started our Selfish Year, we decided we’d try to eat the best of what every country had to offer. After watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, what better place to eat than Jiro Sushi in Tokyo?
After all, the man does have 3-Michelin stars. It’s gotta be good at $350 a head, right? That’s what I thought at first. I even went as far as to make reservations via the Park Hyatt Tokyo. But then we started talking to a friend about sushi in Japan, and she clued us in to Otomezushi in Kanazawa.
Nestled in between the ocean and the Japanese Alps, Kanazawa is in the perfect location for sushi. The Pacific Ocean’s proximity ensures an abundant supply of fresh fish, while the alps provide the area with fresh spring water, and near-perfect conditions for rice.
Whatever the reason Otomezushi is good. Really good. Wake up in the middle of the night like a food-crazed maniac good.
And man, that meal did not disappoint.
Mrs. Selfish and I arrived promptly for our 5:30pm reservation, and were ushered to our seats at the counter. Otomezushi is a small restaurant with seating for less than 30 people, but there were already a few patrons there ahead of us, chatting to the sushi master.
We ordered the chef’s selection, sake, and two beers and watched the man go to work.
After getting our drinks the sushi master deposited a giant tangle of ginger on the counter before assembling our sushi. Around him his staff was serving drinks, roasting eel, or grating fresh wasabi, but no one else handled the sushi itself.
Rolling the rice by hand into sushi-shaped mounds, the sushi master pulled out a knife that would make Crocodile Dundee scream like a little girl, before expertly slicing the fish. Depending on the fish, he added wasabi to the rice, or brushed the fish with soy sauce – sometimes adding a garnish of finely sliced chiso, or Asian lime zest.
The result was an 11-course sushi meal that I will never forget.
The sushi was phenomenal and amazingly tender. Several pieces, like the toro (tuna belly) simply dissolved, almost without chewing. The raw shrimp was another hit – tender, succulent, and flavorful. By the time the miso arrived, signaling the end of the meal, I was happily satisfied, yet sad that it was all over.
In the end, Mrs. Selfish and I ended up paying 16,000 yen (~$160) for both of us, including the 2 beers and sake – only a small fraction of what we would have paid for dinner at Jiro Sushi.
Before leaving we tried to make reservations for another meal, but regrettably they were completely booked for Saturday and were closed on Sundays.
I would absolutely recommend Otomezushi to anyone interested in trying excellent sushi.
The only downside about the place (other than that they are closed on Sundays) is that they can be hard to book. You’ll need someone who speaks Japanese and isn’t afraid of calling several times a day to get ahold of them.
It is worth the effort and money, however. Otomezushi was the finest sushi experience I’ve ever had anywhere – including the sushi restaurants at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. I’m thinking of planning another trip to Japan just to go back to Otomezushi.