The morning of my flight home from Tokyo, I headed to Tsukiji market to find some delicious raw fish. Quick phone research on the train suggested Daiwa was very well regarded and known for their toro (fatty tuna), so I had a plan.
Arriving, I saw a line into the street that folded back and forth on itself 8 times. 8. Looking back at the phone, my eyes caught the “only 11 seats at a counter… the wait can be two to three hours” bit I’d skimmed past. With a flight leaving in 5 hours, waiting, eating, and an hour or two on trains back to the hotel and then airport would be cutting it very close… and what if the wait were longer and I had to leave the line, hungry, at the last moment?
A minute into this indecision, and probably only two after I’d arrived, the host poked his head out the door and said “we have one spot. anyone here alone?” The entire line of couples and groups looked down at their feet. I paused a beat, looked around, and slowly raised my hand… and before I knew it he was parting the crowd and whisking me inside, past stares and a few murmurs.
Sometimes that just happens.
The chef brusquely said “omakase”, and proceeded to slap down one piece of sushi at a time every few minutes for the next half hour. I snapped a few photos but otherwise focused on trying to make each bite of very good, fresh fish last as long as I could.
Falling-apart-like-brisket toro (photo at the very top).
The best uni I’ve ever had (by a wide margin)– like a sweet ocean pudding, no brine at all.
A warm fried shrimp head.
The chu-toro — what might have been a cut from inside to outside of the fish, varying from deep red to marbled fatty pink along its length.
As well as ebi (sweet shrimp), tamago, hamachi, a maguro roll, ika (squid), hirame, tai, hotate, and anago (salt-water eel, vs. the more common fresh-water unagi).
I didn’t even touch the soy sauce– each piece had a dot of wasabi under the fish and occasionally a light brushing of some sauce, and didn’t need anything else.
Definitely in my top 5 sushi experiences, and with no wait in line and a modest price ($35 plus a few extras?) hard to beat.