I was very fortunate to have celebrated my birthday this year at the 3 Michelin stars restaurant, Sushi Yoshitake in Tokyo. This is my first time in four years that I was away from my family and enjoying my birthday trip with my BFF. Therefore, its a short break of total self-indulgence! I have done my research thoroughly as to which restaurant to dine in on my big day and I must say Sushi Yoshitake surpassed my expectations. My girlfriend and I are still raving about the mind blowing experience. Sushi Yoshitake was highly recommended by my friend who has experienced many Michelin star and non Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo. I am not a big believer of Michelin-star restaurants as I had some not so impressive meals in some of them. However, Sushi Yoshitake ranked pretty high in Japanese local restaurants rating website, Tabelog (http://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130103/13024076/). The other sushi restaurant which I was able to patronise was Hashiguchi, worthy of Michelin star but the owner chef refused.
The main reason I settled on Sushi Yoshitake is because of one dish only, the awabi(abalone) liver paste. More about it later.
The omakase restaurant has only 7 counter seats and a table for 4. Its located in the bustling Ginza nightlife area packed with bars and restaurants in narrow buildings. Our reservation was at 8.20pm, so we thought we could arrive earlier to have a pre-dinner drink while waiting. We were shocked when we were greeted by an old industrial-like metal door locked, next to a narrow dark staircase with many empty grocery carton boxes stacked up on top on one another. It was not an inviting sight. We were obviously confused and wondered if we got the right address (its located on the 3rd floor of すずりゅうビル Suzuryu building). After a phonecall to the restaurant, we realised that the restaurant is only open at 8.20pm. So, we had to unglamorously sit by a small alley walkway on the ground flour in our dinner dresses and 3-inch heels, inhaling foul smells from the street drains. Ha ha… it was quite an hilarious experience, we kept laughing about it.
Well, the distasteful metal door finally opened to a quaint and cosy lobby before we entered into the main dinning area. Its common in Japan, especially in small restaurants, to be welcomed by the maître d’ who is coincidently the wife of the owner chef. We were presented with an English written welcome note explaining how we should enjoy our meal in proper Japanese way. This does not mean they are any less Japanese, it shows that they are doing their best to spread traditional Japanese culture to the world, especially when the Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics. Moreover, the chef and the assistants cannot speak much English.
Chef Yoshitake is quite an easy-going tall gentleman, speaks a little English and entertains his guests pretty well. Obviously, I tried to use sign language with my elementary Japanese to ask him questions. I hope I did not get on his nerves as I was super curious.
I had specially brought along my camera with macro lens just to take photos of the dishes, unfortunately, only phone camera was allowed. So I apologise if the quality of the food pictures have been compromised.
This is the “piece de resistance” item in the restaurant. This is the reason why I was here. The rich beautifully seasoned awabi (abalone) liver paste 肝のソース makes french fois gras pales in comparison. My friend and I both mourned at the same time when we first savoured it and both agreed we have been elevated to “Heaven”! Seriously, after tasting this, our favourite uni (sea urchin) moved down in rankings on our must-eat list. So so yummy! The abalone liver paste was to be enjoyed in 2 ways. First, as a dip for steamed awabi 蒸し鮑 (abalone) meat and second, mix well with rice. Chef Yoshitake had to stop me from slurping up most of the paste before there is no paste left for the rice. I was eating it like a pudding. >x<
I love Chef Yoshitake’s creative ways of mixing the ingredients. This dish was very good too, packed with different textures and flavours.
After tasted simmered or cooked dishes, we were served 11 types of sushi with Chef Yoshitake’s amazing “shari” sushi rice.
Chef Yoshitake prepared an extra tall uni sushi for my birthday, I felt so privileged and I could not contain my excitement! He said this was his first time making such a tall uni sushi with 2 types uni 海栗 (Hokkaido and Miyagi Prefecture). The rest of the patrons were eyeing at it with jealousy that one of them ordered 2 uni towers for himself!
While the assistant chef was cutting and peeling the Kuruma ebi, I was eyeing intently at the prawn heads. I casually asked the chef what happened to all the ingredients not served on the table like the prawn heads and shells, abalone skirts, etc. He said they would all go to his italian restaurant’s kitchen, Osteria da K.[Káppa] www.dakappa.co.jp. Thats what so wonderful about Japanese cuisine, nothing goes to waste! So I requested for the prawn heads to be served to me instead and he surprised me with them being deep-fried! So tasty!
Other dishes that were served in this meal (sorry, forgot to take photos for some) were otoro 大トロ (fatty tuna sushi), Anago 穴子 sushi (Sea eel), Temaki Tuna hand roll, sweet tamago egg custard 玉子焼き and Miso Shiru (Light miso soup infused with myōga 茗荷)
I am so thankful for this meal. I hope to come back again even sooner to savour the omakase again may be in the next season.
3F, Suzuryu Building,
8-7-19 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo,
To make reservations, get your hotel concierge to reserve for you. They only accept reservations one month ahead.