[Tokyo] Sushi Sho すし匠 - Bara Chirashi Lunch & Sushi Dinner
I wanted to try the sushi at Sushi Sho but since we failed to make reservations ahead of time, we decided to come here for their famous bara chirashi lunch and lucked out with a dinner reservation for the same day! Sushi Sho is famous for its Sho-style sushi which includes a focus on aging of fish especially with maguro, use of red and white vinegar shari with different types of neta, and alternating otsumami and sushi dishes. A number of Chef Keiji Nakazawa's apprentices went on to open their own successful shops with the Sushi Sho name intact such as Sushi Sho Masa, Takumi Shingo and Sushi Sho Saito to name a few. Chef Nakazawa has also competed on Iron Chef before but lost to Iron Chef Morimoto, but perhaps what's even more interesting about him is the rumor that he once kicked out Michelin Guide inspectors for not knowing anything about sushi and thus his restaurant has never appeared in any Michelin guide. Despite not having any Michelin stars, the restaurant is revered locally and is highly rated on Tabelog. Unfortunately Chef Nakazawa is no longer working at the restaurant since he has left to open another restaurant in Hawaii, but his apprentice Chef Shingo Takahashi of Takumi Shingo (who was really friendly by the way!) is at the helm right now. However I'm not sure what the long term plan is because Shingo-san told us that he will return to his own restaurant later in June.
To make dinner reservations at Sushi Sho, you need to call on the 1st of the previous month (so if you want to visit in May, you need to call on the 1st of April). While you can also make reservations for lunch, it didn't seem necessary as we just showed up right when they opened at 11:30am and were seated right away at the 10 person counter. Lunch is only served on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with only 20 bowls of bara chirashi per day for ¥2000 which is really good value since they used the same ingredients served at dinner which starts from ¥20,000.
There is no need to order since they only serve one thing at lunch. Service was really prompt and our Bara Chirashi were placed in front of us rather quickly along with clam soup, pickled tsukemono and green tea. Topped with kinshi tamago (shredded omelette) and wide variety of sashimi, it was a satisfying bowl of deliciousness and I can see why it is so popular for the quality and value.
When we were finished with lunch, we asked them if there was any availability for dinner and they told us that they only have space for us tonight at 6pm. It seemed like a take it or leave it kind of offer so even though we were stuffed with fish and rice already, we decided to go for it and ended up with the best sushi meal we've had so far in Tokyo!
Shima Aji (striped horse mackerel) and Ishidai (striped knife jaw) sashimi
I love Umibudo (sea grapes) which is a type of seaweed from Okinawa but I've never been served these at sushi restaurant before as a palate cleanser with wakame and gari.
Tako (octopus) stuffed with fried rice
Torigai (Japanese cockle)
Lightly torched Hokkigai (surf clam)
The Aori Ika (cuttlefish) surprised us with its very soft texture as it had been aged prior to serving. The texture was more like a fish instead of the usual chewiness.
The Kodai (baby sea bream) was refreshing with a splash of sudachi and yuzu zest.
We started alternating back and forth between the otsumami and sushi but I didn't mind it since it seemed more structured and deliberate than Daisan Harumi.
Katsuo (skipjack tuna)
Kinmedai served with akazu shari (red vinegar rice).
The chef kept emphasizing that this was a "chiisai" (meaning small) Kurama Ebi.
The Hotaru Ika (firefly squid) are in season now and were really delicious.
Mushi Awabi (steamed abalone)
Grilled Chi Ayu (baby sweet fish)
This Tai no Shirako (sea bream's milt) was my favorite otsumami even though I don't even like shirako to begin with as it was incredibly soft and creamy while the flavor was delicate and perfectly seasoned with yuzukosho (yuzu chili paste).
This next piece was something special and quite rare as I have never been served salmon sushi at high end sushi-yas in Tokyo before. It was called Tokishirazu Konbujime or roughly translated as "salmon that does not know time". Usually salmon is not served as sushi in Tokyo because it is a problematic fish with high amount of parasites in the raw meat. This salmon was different though - the chef told us that every year around Spring, a small number of salmon from Russia would somehow get lost and swim to Japan. It is apparently one of the most expensive fish in the market and had been aged here before serving.
We were also served the Sujiko (salmon roe sac) from the Tokishirazu but the flavor was a bit salty.
Mehikari (greeneyes) served with spicy relish.
The Chutoro (tuna) was baby smooth as all tendons have been removed from the fish.
Murasaki Uni (sea urchin)
At this point, the chef asked us if we were full and if there was any particular sushi we wanted to try. He gave us a few suggestions and we decided on the classic old timer of Edomae sushi - Kohada (gizzard shad) served with kombu and sweet vinegar.
He had also suggested the Ankimo (monkfish liver) with watermelon pickle which sounded interesting and it turned out to be one of my favorite sushi pieces here! I've never had ankimo as sushi before and the pairing of the creamy liver with the pickled watermelon was simply heavenly to eat.
We were intrigued with using Kaki (oyster) as sushi but J thought that it didn't go that well with the rice.
The Aka Uni from Kyushu was creamier and more flavorful than the Murasaki Uni.
At the chef's insistence, we also tried the Kinmedai where the skin was lightly torched and it was super delicious as its fattiness melted in our mouths like toro!
Clam soup to wrap up our meal.
Lastly we had a myriad of ice cream and sherbet flavors to choose from and I went for the ume sherbet which was refreshing as it tasted like marinated plums!
Both the otsumami and sushi at Sushi Sho were impressive and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to experience sushi in Tokyo. I think this is my favorite sushi restaurant yet and I can't wait to try the other Sushi Sho offshoots to continue the Sho-style sushi experience as well!
Sushi Sho すし匠
1-11 Yotsuya Shinjuku Tokyo
東京都 新宿区 四谷 1-11
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