Tag Archives: Sushi

(lucky at) Daiwa Sushi, Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

27 Nov


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.





The highlights:

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.

Eating (Well) in Narita Airport

23 Nov

The only actually good (as opposed to “huh, that was better than my low expectations”) food I’ve ever had in an airport– an excellent all-tuna sushi plate (with a range of grades of fattiness) at Sushi Kyotatsu near gate 36 in Narita:

Sushi Narita

And, if you’re (un)fortunate to fly enough to have gold status on some airline in Star Alliance (United, etc), that also gives you complimentary access to the ANA lounge, which has light snacks and a serve-yourself range of sakes you can taste.


Japanese Food Dinner Party

26 May

A few weeks ago I had friends over for some Japanese food (sushi rolls, as well as various dishes focused on a few simple ingredients, inspired by Japanese Farm Food).





Boiled Edamame with Hickory-smoked Salt (from The Meadow)

Smashed Cucumber Pickles: Japanese cucumbers roughly crushed with a dowel and torn into irregular chunks, mixed with a whole stalk of sliced green garlic, sea salt, and a little ginger, and sealed in a ziploc bag in the fridge for two hours before dinner. Really good– one of my favorite new kinds of pickle.

Turnips and Leaves Pickled in Salt: sliced Tokyo turnips along with the freshest leaves, salt, young ginger, dry red chile (a little), an entire Meyer lemon’s worth of zest (in lieu of yuzu), and salt, also refrigerated in a bag for two hours, then rinsed in water to cut down on the salt.

Snap Peas: Fried sliced young ginger and red chiles in sesame oil, then added the snap peas for just three minutes, until they started to turn bright green. A bit oily but still quite good.

Fried Shishito Peppers: no recipe needed…

Cured Salmon Roe: Fresh salmon roe, rinsed several times until the water ran clear (very gently to avoid breaking them), mixed with a little sea salt, another meyer lemon’s worth of zest and juice, then let sit for a few hours. Served on top of a seared slab of salmon, topped with a little lemon-infused flake salt.

and of course, the team-effort sushi rolls: Dry sushi rice rinsed and drained 8 times until the water ran clear,  boiled with a strip of kombu, spread out on a board and drizzled with rice vinegar while vigorously fanning to rapidly cool it. Then rolled up in nori with some mix of maguro, toro, hamachi, salmon, shiso leaf, avocado, cucumber, and pickled ginger. With fresh-grated real wasabi root (a rare find, at Nijiya).

Great food and company, one of the best evenings in a while.

Sashimi Heaven

13 Jan

Fish at the informal yet favorite sushi place* was in top form! The hamachi, albacore, and fresh scallop in particular.

Sashimi plate (and the embarrassment of  using one of those “retro camera filter” programs):

Hamachi kama:

Not shown: asparagus-shiitake stirfry, tsunomono (paper-thin cucumber slices, sliced octopus, vinegar, spicy sprouts), and one concession to rolls: crunchy fried salmon skin.

* I’ve vowed not to publish its name, because it doesn’t need any more customers (you have to get there 45+ minutes before it opens to get a seat, or tonight: 80 minutes)… but if you know me, I’m happy to take you there in person some time…