IRIFUNE (Okusawa)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 29.2012 Sushi & Unagi 0 comments 0 trackback
入船 outside
Its hard to say which sushi restaurant is the best in Tokyo, but when it comes down just to maguro (tuna) no one will argue that IRIFUNE at Okusawa serves the best maguro in Tokyo or in the world.

入船 maguro
At Tsukiji fish market regarding maguro there is one rule. When chef/owner Honda places an order at the most famous intermediate wholesaler, the best maguro goes to Irifune. Whatever the price is, he has been purchasing the very best maguro ever since he opened his restaurant.

入船 鮪赤身
You want to have every part of maguro you can at Irifune, but you do want to start out with least fatty part, Akami (red part of tuna). Even though its the least fattiest part, it will be the richest akami in flavor you ever had. Most people enjoy toro (fatty tuna) more than akami, but I like akami more in general and their akami just knocks me out whenever I dine here.

入船 chutoro
Then you might want to try CHUTORO (Medium-fatty tuna), which will be considered regular ootoro (fatty tuna) at other restaurants. If they have a chutoro part called wakaremi, its the most delicious part of chutoro. Just ask the chef if they have it or not.

入船 大トロ enlarge
And of course, OOTORO (Fatty tuna), the most expensive part of Tuna,

入船 炙り
but their most famous maguro sushi of all is ABURI (Broiled fatty tuna), which Chef Honda invented and available at most sushi restaurants around the world. It just melts in your month.

入船 ootoro ninniku
If you want to enjoy ootoro in a different way, they can add a slice of garlic which is dipped for awhile in soy sauce called OOTORO NO SHOYU ZUKE.

入船 とろたく
Other must eats are TOROTAKU (Fatty tuna & pickled Japanese radish roll),

入船 カワギシの軍艦
KAWAGISHI NO GUNKANMAKI (Tuna left neared the skin scraped by spoon)

入船 鮪づけ
and ZUKE (Akami marinated in soy sauce).

入船 マグロづくし丼
Also, they have various maguro donburi's (rice bowl) which will probably be the most expensive donburi you ever have like MAGURO ZUKUSHI DON (Various parts of tuna over rice) for 10,500 yen,

入船 大トロ炙り丼
or OOTORO ABURI DON (Broiled fatty tuna over rice) for 10,500 yen.

入船 inside enlarge
Other fishes are just a little above average and there are tons of better sushi restaurants to dine at if you want other top quality fish. But if you want maguro, this is the go to place in the world. Prices are reasonable compared to other top sushi restaurants and it is located in a residential area of Tokyo. Their interior is old style and not fancy or modern like other top sushi restaurants and probably has been the same since it opened in the 70's, My brother who is a sushi chef in Houston, dreamed about dining at Irifune for years and when he visited us for the first time in 15 yrs and found out it that it was only minutes away from our house, his dream finally became true. He had nothing but a big smile on his face and I'm sure you will too, if you love maguro. Also, best season for maguro is from November to February, so if you can try to dine during this period.

IRIFUNE (in Japanese, 入船)
Address: 3-31-7 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都世田谷区奥沢3-31-7)
Nearest train station: Tokyu Meguro Line (1 min walk) or
Tokyu Toyoko or Ohimachi Line Jiyugaoka (10 min walk)
Tel: 03-3720-1212
Reservations: Yes (must)
Website: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g519600/ (in Japanese only)
English menu: None
Credit Card: Yes, but will charge 5% extra
Open: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm
Closed: None

Prices: Sushi 10,000-25,000 yen
Maguro Zukushi Don (Various parts of tuna over rice) 10,500 yen
Ootoro Aburi Don (Broiled fatty tuna over rice) 10,500 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 19.2011 Sushi & Unagi 0 comments 0 trackback
立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 outside
If you don't want to wait a couple of hours to eat at Sushi Dai, but still want to eat sushi for a cheap price in Tsukiji, there is CHIYODA SUSHI. Chiyoda Sushi is a stand up restaurant meaning there is a sushi counter with no seats. They actually have multiple locations through out the Kanto region and cost performance wise probably one of the best.

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 menu
Their menu is very simple. You either choose one of the set menus or order by piece. The set menus are USHIO (8 pieces of sushi selected by chef) for 590 yen and MICHISHIO (12 pieces of sushi selected by chef) for 890 yen.

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 ushio 1 590yen
The chef will give each customer 4 pieces of sushi at a time and when you are about to finish eating it, the next four will be served.

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 daimyo saba
If you want to order by piece, most of the sushi's are 80 yen. I would recommend to try DAIMYO SABA (Horse Mackerel),

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 hotate aburi
ABURI HOTATE (Grilled Scallop),

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 hamachi aburi
ARURI HAMACHI (Grilled Yellowtale).

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 anago 1
They also have sushi's for 90, 120, and 200 yen. A must order is FUTKURA NIANAGO (Fluffy Sea Eel) for 120 yen.

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 ushio 2 590yen
If you decide to order by piece, before 2pm you must order 2 pieces of same sushi for every order. But after 2pm you can order just 1 piece at a time. If you want to have sushi at Tsukiji (its not located in the fish market, but near by) or just even have a couple of sushi's for a snack do consider Chiyoda Sushi then.

立ち食いちよだ寿司築地店 inside

CHIYODA SUSHI (in Japanese, 立ち食いすし処 ちよだ鮨 築地店)
Address: 3-10-9 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区築地3-10-9)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Tsukiji (2 min walk)
Tel: 03-6226-5422
Reservations: No
Website: http://www.chiyoda-sushi.co.jp/ (in Japanese only)
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: Monday - Friday 11am-10:00pm
Saturday, Sunday, Holiday 11am-9pm
Closed: None

Prices: Ushio (8 pieces of sushi selected by chef) 590 yen
Michishio (12 pieces of sushi selected by chef) 890 yen
1 piece from 80-200 yen
Must order 2 pieces of same sushi until 2pm. After 2pm can order just 1 piece.

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 17.2011 Sushi & Unagi 0 comments 0 trackback
Wanna eat Unajyu (Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) for a reasonable price in Tsukiji? Then MARUSHIZU is one of the few places to go.

Its only minutes away from Tsukiji Fish Market, but in a small alley where its a bit hard to find.

They only have UNAJYU (Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) and SHIRAYAKI (Non-flavored Grilled Sea Eel).

The prices for unajyu vary by the amount of rice and slices of sea eel in it. I usually order MURAJI (Large Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) for 2,200 yen

丸静 臣
or OMI (Extra Large Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) for 2,600 yen. They don't name the sizes by large, medium, or small. They use Japanese names from the past for explaining the sizes.

It comes with KIMOSUI (Clear Liver Soup)

and also, a small OSHINKO (Pickles).

The unagi is precooked, grilled once and steamed. Once they get an order they will take the unagi out of the steamer and give it a final grill. So, unlike top unagi restaurants which start from slicing the uncooked unagi, it comes out pretty quickly, usually in about 5 minutes. Its a small restaurant with only about 10 seats and during lunch time there could be a decent wait, but not during dinner time.

MARUSHIZU (in Japanese, 丸静)
Address: 6-12-10 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区築地6-12-10)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Tsukiji (10 min walk)
Tel: 03-3541-0072
Reservations: No
Website: None
English menu: No
Credit Card: No
Open: 11:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Closed: Sunday & Holidays

Prices: Unajyu Choku (Regular Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) 1,600 yen
Unajyu Muraji (Large Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) 2,200 yen
Unajyu Omi (Extra Large Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) 2,600 yen
Unajyu Mikoto (XX LargeGrilled Sea Eel over Rice) 2,200 yen
Unajyu Oh (XXX Large Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) 3,700 yen
Shirayaki (Extra Special Non Seasoned Sea Eel) 2,000 yen
Shirayaki Gohan (Special Grilled Non Seasoned Sea Eel with Rice) 2,200 yen
Joh Oshinko (Pickels) 600 yen

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SUSHI DAI (Tsukiji)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 13.2011 Sushi & Unagi 0 comments 0 trackback
寿司大 outside
If you are willing to wait 2-3 hours to eat sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, SUSHI DAI is the place to go. Its probably recommended or introduced on most tourist guide books. 20 yrs ago, Sushi Dai was popular, but never a 2-3 hour wait. I use to eat here at least 2-3 times a month, but over the last 10 years its the go to place for not only foreign tourists, but Japanese tourists as well and I stopped going since I can't wait 2-3 hours for just sushi breakfast/lunch.

寿司大 menu
The reason why Sushi Dai is so popular is because of their cost performance and probably location as well. Of course, you can order piece by piece, but most people order either OMAKASE COURSE (10 pieces of sushi chosen by the chef plus 1 piece fish of your choice with 1 sushi roll, rolled egg and miso soup) for 3,900 yen or JYOU SUSHI (7 pieces of sushi chosen by chef with 1 sushi roll, rolled egg and miso soup) for 2,500 yen.

寿司大 12 seats
They use top quality fish available at the market and could charge at least 50% more for this. Here is what you get for a Omakase Course.

寿司大 toro
TORO (Fatty Tuna)

寿司大 aji
AJI (Horse Mackerel)

寿司大 anago
ANAGO (Sea Eel)

寿司大 ebi
EBI (Prawn)

寿司大 hirame
HIRAME (Flounder)

寿司大 ikura
IKURA (Salmon Egg Roe)

寿司大 kinme uni
KINMEDAI (Alfonsino) & UNI (Sea Urchin)

寿司大 kohada sawara
KOHADA (Japanese Shad) & SAWARA (Spanish Mackerel)

寿司大 zuke  makimono
ZUKE (Marinated Tuna) & TETKA MAKI (Tuna Roll)

寿司大 tamago
TAMAGO (Egg Omelet)

寿司大 inside
Of course, fishes used for sushi will change by season and whats available at the market, but Toro, Anago, Tetka Maki will always be served. Sushi Dai only has 12 counter seats and even though people are waiting in line they provide top quality service and also will not rush you to leave. So, if you really want to eat sushi inside Tsukiji Fish Market and willing to wait a couple of hours, go to Sushi Dai then.

SUSHI DAI (in Japanese, 寿司大 )
Address: 5-2-1 Tshukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
located inside Tsukuji Market, building name is Tsukiji Oroshiuri Shijyo 6 Gohkan
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区築地5-2-1 築地卸売市場6号館)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Tsukiji (5 min walk)
or Toei Subway Tshukiji Shijyo (3 min walk)
Tel: 3547-6797
Reservations: No
Website: http://www.tsukijigourmet.or.jp/22_sushidai/index.htm (in Japanese only)
English menu: There is a simple one on the door.
Credit Card: No
Open: 5am-2pm
Closed: Sunday, Holiday and also when Tsukiji market is closed.

Prices: Omakase Course (10 pieces of sushi chosen by the chef plus 1 piece fish of your choice with 1 sushi roll, rolled egg and miso soup) 3,900 yen
Jyou Sushi (7 pieces of sushi chosen by chef with 1 sushi roll, rolled egg and miso soup) 2,500 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 01.2011 Sushi & Unagi 2 comments 0 trackback
築地 虎杖outside
There are many breakfast/lunch restaurants in and around Tsukiji fish market. My old office was at Tsukiji and we would go eat at these restaurants daily. Most of the places that I went to were for people working at the market not tourist, but at TSUKIJI ITADORI UOGASHI-SENRYO everyone came to eat.

築地 虎杖hitsumabushi
Tsukiji Itadori Uogashi-Senryo is actually a sushi restaurant, but it is famous for its one lunch item. GANSO KAISEN HITSUMABUSHI (Mix seafood bowl) for 2,100 yen, which 99% of the people eat. Maguro, (Tuna), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Uni (Sea Urchin) and 3 other fishes (catch of the day) are cut into small pieces over rice. It looks like Chirashi sushi (assorted sushi bowl), but the way you eat it is different. There are three ways of eating it. (the employees at the restaurant will show you how to eat it, if you don't know)

築地 虎杖hitsumabushi1
First bowl, you want to put Uni (sea urchin) aside and mix it a little and add wasabi & soy sauce.

築地 虎杖hitsumabushi2
Next bowl, the waiter/waitress will add Uni (sea urchin) and mix it well for you. Add a little wasabi & soy sauce, if you like.

築地 虎杖hitsumabushi3
The last bowl, add fish broth over it and have it as a Ochazuke (rice with broth or green tea).

築地 虎杖sushi
If you want there is regular sushi as well, but I strongly recommend to have the above since you can't have it anywhere else.

築地 虎杖outside2
One of the most famous TV gourmet reporters said this is by far his favorite way of eating raw fish with rice and it is one of mine as well. Only problem is that the portion is fairly small for men like me.

Address: 4-10-14 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区築地4-10-14)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Tsukiji or Tshkiji Market (5 min walk)
Tel: 03-5565-5739
Reservations: Dinner Only
Website: http://www.itadori.co.jp/shop/shop_07.html (in Japanese only)
English menu: No
Credit Card: Yes
Open: Monday-Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm 5pm-10:30pm, Sunday & Holidays 8:30am-9:30pm
Closed: None

Prices: Ganso Kaisen Hitsumabushi (Mix Seafood Bowl) 2,100 yen
Ganso Kaisen Hitsumabushi Uni Tokumori (Mix Seafood Bowl with Extra Sea Urchin) 2,500 yen
Tsukiji Shijoh Set (Assortated Tsukiji Market Sushi) 2,300 yen
Other Seafood Bowls (Lunch Only) between 1,200-2,800 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 09.2011 Sushi & Unagi 3 comments 0 trackback
すし匠 まさ outside
Wanna go to one the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo? Well, your bill will be somewhere between 20,000-40,000 yen per person not including drinks. I personally don't trust Michelin or Zagat when I have to spend this much for dinner. For example, many of my friends ask me about Sukiyabashi Jiro, Michelin 3 star and one of the most famous sushi restaurants in Japan, where even one the most famous chef's in the world, Joel Robuchon dines whenever he is in Tokyo. Of course, the sushi is good, but there is almost zero service and you will be only eating there for 20 min, since chef Jiro will only provide a one course menu at his pace. And your bill will be over 35,000 yen. 35,000 yen plus for 20 min? I could never do it again. For me, if I had to spend so much for top sushi, of course fish has to be top quality, but also how the rice is flavored and service of the chef is important as well. A fairly new sushi restaurant in Nishi Azabu called SUSHISHO MASA is one of the few top sushi restaurants which satisfies all my needs.

Chef Masa trained at Umi in Aoyama and Sushi Sho in Yotsuya. After training at such top Tokyo sushi restaurants, he even went out of Tokyo to train at other top sushi restaurants, which is very rare. I was taken to Sushisho Masa for a business dinner and loved everything about the restaurant. Fish, rice and especially chef Masa will make sure customers will go home satisfied with at least his service. His sushi isn't the typical Edo-Mae Sushi (authentic Tokyo style sushi), its a mixture of all kinds of sushi.

すし匠 まさ anago
For example, he will serve Anago (sea eel), one with salt and the other with tsume (sweet sauce).

すし匠 まさ ikura
Ikura (salmon roe) won't be wrapped around with seaweed.

すし匠 まさ kimo
Fishes like Nodoguro, which is usually only used at sushi restaurants in Kanazawa will be available when its in season,

すし匠 まさ kinmedai
and also, Kinmedai-no aburi (lightly grilled golden eye sea bream) is another sushi you won't find at most sushi restaurants.

すし匠 まさ zuke
Of course, edo-mae sushi like Akami-no zuke (seasoned red tuna),

すし匠 まさ kodai
Kasugo-no oborozuke (seasoned small red fish) ,

すし匠 まさ saba
and Shime saba (marinated mackerel) is served,

すし匠 まさ inside
There are only seven seats at Sushisho Masa and also no menu except for the sake list. Start with some sashimi first and then move on to sushi like most people do at a top sushi restaurant. Just tell chef Masa what you don't like and he will serve you accordingly. Since his restaurant has become so popular now, you will have to make a reservation 4-6 weeks in advance (if its past 11pm you might be able to get a table earlier), but chef Masa who will remind you of an one to one marketing expert will make sure that you had a great night dining at his restaurant. He is one of the great young chef's in Tokyo.

SUSHISHO MASA (in Japanese, すし匠 まさ)
Address: 4-1-15 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (basement floor)
(in Japanese, 東京都港区西麻布4-1-15 セブン西麻布 B1F)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Hiroo or Roppongi (12 min walk)
Tel: 03-3499-9178
Reservations: Yes (only)
Website: None
English menu: No
Credit Card: Yes (VISA, AMEX, JCB only)
Open: Tuesday- Thursday 6pm-1am, Friday & Saturday 6pm-3am
Sunday & Holidays 6pm-11:30pm
Closed: Monday

Price: 20,000-30,000 yen

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OBANA (Minami Senju)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 06.2011 Sushi & Unagi 0 comments 0 trackback
Unagi (Sea Eel) chef's usually are trained to only cook Unagi nothing else. It is said to obtain proper technique, sticking takes 3 yrs, splitting takes 8 yrs and grilling takes a lifetime. On how to split and cook it varies by east and west. For example, Tokyo (Kanto area) splits it from the stomach and steams it once before its final grill, but Osaka (Kansai area) splits it from the back and doesn't steam it at all, only grills it. Tokyo Unagi restaurants are softer and less fatty since its been steamed once, and Osaka Unagi restaurants are chewer and oilier.

OBANA in downtown Tokyo is one of the finest Unagi restaurants in Japan. My mother's side is from downtown Tokyo and whenever we came to visit them we would always go out to eat at Obana. I always looked forward eating there, since it wasn't common for us to eat Unagi at home, (we were living in Kobe at that time) but it was years later that I found out that Obana is considered the best Unagi restaurant by Unagi freaks.

When visiting Obana, you want to order other Unagi dishes first before having UNAJYU. (Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) Maybe start out with USAKU (Grilled Sea Eel in Vinaigrette Sauce)

or order UMAKI (Grilled Sea Eel Egg Omelet) or even both.

Next or even if you didn't order Usaku or Umaki, a must is ordering a non seasoned plain grilled unagi called SHIRAYAKI, which you eat with soy sauce and wasabi.

Of course, if you can drink, you want to order a bottle of sake or beer with all this.

At the very end, have the main dish UNAJYU (Grilled Sea Eel over Rice). Whats different about Obana's unagi is that there aren't many burned spots on it when others have many. It is lightly grilled and to people who prefer the smell of charcoal on the unagi it may not be satisfying, but you don't see others who can grill it like Obana.

Also, you want to order KIMOSUI (Liver Soup) with Unajyu.

Obana doesn't take reservations so there could be a decent wait, they don't have private rooms and its not in a tourist area at all, but its one of downtown Tokyo's finest restaurants. If I had to recommend just one Unagi restaurant to go to it will be Obana.


OBANA(in Japanese, 尾花)
Address: 5-33-1 Minami Senju, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都荒川区南千住5-33-1)
Nearest train station: JR or Tokyo Metro Minami Senju (5 min walk)
Tel: 03-3801-4670
Reservations: No
Website: None
English menu: No
Credit Card: No
Open: Tuesday-Friday 11:30am-1:30pm 4pm-7:30pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 11:30am-7:30pm
Closed: Monday

Prices: Unajyu (Grilled Sea Eel over Rice) 4,000 yen, 3,500 yen, 3,000 yen
Shirayaki (Grilled Non Seasoned Sea Eel) 3,300 yen
Uzaku (Grilled Sea Eel in Vinaigrette Sauce) 1,500 yen
Umaki (Grilled Sea Eel Egg Omelet) 1,800
Kimosui (Liver Soup) 350 yen
Oshinko (Pickels) 600 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 28.2011 Sushi & Unagi 2 comments 0 trackback
midori outside 2
You're in the sushi capital of the world, but don't want to pay top yen and still want to eat great sushi you can't get at home. Its becoming tougher these days to find such a sushi restaurant, but I would have to say one of the most popular sushi restaurants for middle class Japanese people is UMEGAOKA SUSHI-NO MIDORI SOHONTEN. (shortly called MIDORI SUSHI)

midori inside
MIdori Sushi has several locations. Ginza, Akasaka, Shibuya, Daikanyama and 5 other locations, None of them take reservations and the wait could be as long 90 min especially Shibuya location. So, if you are in a hurry, this place isn't for you. Also, unless you drink a lot your bill will normally be under 5,000 yen per person, but the quality of sushi is more than 5,000 yen. The pictures listed here are from the Shibuya location and this is the only location I've been to.

midori tokusen
Most people order either Ultimate Sushi Assortment (2,100 yen)

midori itasan
or Chef's Special Sushi Assortment (2,940 yen)

midori kobore
If these assortments don't make you full, I would recommend to additionally order Large Serving Salmon Roe or Sea Urchin.

midori aburi
If you don't like Salmon Roe or Sea Urchin, try some Grilled Sushi like the above.

midori counter
Of course, you can order piece by piece and create your own sushi assortment.

midori lunch
Also, the sushi assortment they serve for lunch is very reasonable around 1,000 yen.

midori outside

UMEGAOKA SUSHI-NO MIDORI SOHONTEN (in Japanese, 梅丘寿司の美登利総本店 渋谷店)
Address: Shibuya Mark Ciry East Mall 4th Floor, 1-12-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都渋谷区道玄坂1-12-3 渋谷マークシティ イーストモール 4F)
Nearest train station: All trains that go to Shibuya (2 min walk)
Tel: 03-5458-0002
Reservation: No
Website: http://www.sushinomidori.co.jp/
English menu: Yes
Credit Card: Yes
Open: Monday-Friday 11am-3pm & 5pm-10pm, Saturday, Sunday, Holidays 11am-9:30pm
Closed: Irregularly

Prices: Chef's Special Sushi Assortment 2,940 yen, Ultimate Sushi Assortment 2,100 yen. By piece from 105-630 yen.

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