Sushi Yoshitake (Tokyo, Japan)
Suzuryu Building 3F
8-7-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Dining date: 11/12/12
One of my food goals in Japan has been to find the best sushi I could possibly get my hands on. Sukiyabashi Jiro was initially what I had my sights on to satisfy this quest, but that didn’t work out; in hindsight, I think I would’ve been disappointed in that meal. I’ve had some great sushi at Sushi Kanesaka, Umi and the Roppongi branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro, but Sushi Yoshitake was the best of them all.
Chef Masahiro Yoshitake is the man behind the restaurant, a new entrant (and three-star awardee) to the 2012 Michelin Guide. His success has spawned another branch in Hong Kong, but this remains the flagship. Like all the rest of the sushiyas I’ve been to, the decor is spartan but intimate. The bar seats seven and the chef does much of the work including finishing all of the dishes and making the sushi. Of course, the view is a part of the experience and I was lucky enough to get a seat front and center!
There is no menu; food is omakase-only at ¥21,000. As is typical for other sushiyas, the first few courses are small plates/sashimi with the rest all sushi.
crab with roe, dashi jelly
Cool, sweet crab was complemented with additional umami from the dashi. I liked having the roe which added a little bit of texture and depth of crabby flavor.
The hirame was served slightly warm, which I found kind of odd. The texture was tender and silky, and I thought the sudachi-soy dipping sauce was an ideal accompaniment.
I think this was braised for a long time since it was extremely tender. Or maybe it was just very good octopus? I loved the texture though I found the molasses-like sweet sauce to be a little too sweet.
abalone with liver sauce
A couple of tender, sweet chunks of abalone arrived next. A separate dish contained a mysterious green sauce; turns out, it was made from the abalone liver. Awesome! The sauce lended an extra richness and depth of flavor that really set this dish apart.
sushi rice with liver sauce
A refill of the abalone liver sauce came next with a dollop of sushi rice. I was excited to have another helping of the unique sauce and really liked how it coated the lightly seasoned rice.
monkfish liver with yuzu
This was an exceptionally creamy example of monkfish with a hint of soy and citrusy yuzu. The flavor was clean and bright; I thought this was one of the best monkfish livers I’ve ever tasted.
smoked bonito sashimi
The last course before sushi was this one. I’ve been seeing smoked bonito sashimi/sushi quite a bit in Tokyo and wonder why I don’t see it that much in the US. The smoky perfume goes so well with the rich tuna that it’s hard to go wrong. In this example, the skin was seared gently, giving each bite a little bit of an added smoky charred flavor. Delish.
The sashimi courses were very strong, so I was excited for the next stage: sushi!
Why do sushi bars seem to have the best green tea?
madai/red sea bream
This was some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. There was a fine balance of fish to rice, and I found the rice seasoning to be present but not overbearing. Highlights for me included a squid with a very nice texture, as well as a trio of excellent tuna preparations. I really enjoyed the rich flavor of the kohada, as well as amazing uni and anago. While Sushi Yoshitake didn’t quite offer the impressive variety of Umi, this was bite-for-bite my best sushi experience of the trip (and one of the best overall).
Service was top-notch. Just as I got up to leave, the sushi chef walked out the back. I hesitated a moment since I wanted to say thank you one more time. Silly me – I should know by now. The chef ran out the back to get the elevator for me and say thank you one last time. Incredible.
Christmas-time in Japan starts in early November.
Other Tokyo sushi:
Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi | Sushi Dai | Sushi Daiwa | Sushi Kanesaka | Umi
Awww…I was disappointed to see him using “boxed” uni.
Actually almost everywhere I’ve been in Japan seems to have this boxed uni. Have yet to see someone break down a fresh one!
Glad you finally found your perfect sushi meal! I am curious about the green liver sauce.
It was so good! Have yet to come across it in LA..
hehe. the mini bibendum is so cute! the food, too!
Haha it (he?) is!
how difficult was it to book this place? how many months shall i call in advanced? thanks 🙂
I didn’t think it was difficult at all…I called maybe a week and a half in advance and got a seat, all in English. Maybe I got lucky, but it seemed easy enough. I’d call as soon as you know a date though just in case..
Hi Darin, I am trying to get a reservation there for a couple days now after reading your blog. It seems ver difficult.
They require our hotel to make the reservation even after a Japanese friend of ours called because we are foreign.
How did you manage? In English or Japanese? Via email or phone?
Thanks for stopping by. For my reservation, I called them and spoke to someone in English. It was pretty obvious that I was foreign, but I don’t remember it being difficult at all. I’m sorry to hear that it sounds more difficult now; I’m not sure if their policies have changed since then.