Kyubei is a sushi restaurant in between Ginza and Shimbashi. A Wall Street Journal article in January of 2008 named it as one of the ten best restaurants in Asia. They have a rule that a sushi chef can serve no more than 6 people. The restaurant consists of multiple floors. Each floor contains just one sushi bar with ~ 12 seats and 2 sushi chefs. So, even though the restaurant is actually large, the ambiance is very intimate.
We ordered the omakase, which basically means the chef makes for you whatever he wants. Be prepared to spend around $200 per person. If you don't want to spend that much, they do have a menu. However, even the cheapest meal, which is 15 pieces of nigiri, will still run you around $120.
He started us out with some light, white fish (I think he said it was related to halibut, but I actually can't remember). He gave us a ponzu dipping sauce.
We told our sushi chef that we liked toro (fatty tuna). He proceeded to prepare for us piece after piece of perfectly formed sushi. The fish was extraordinarily fresh (Tsujiki fish market is less than a 10 minute walk away); the sushi was cut with exceptional skill; and each nigiri was perfectly formed.
(He's cutting toro here - mmmmmm . . )
Putting wasabi in your soy sauce is a no-no. Instead, for nigiri, you are supposed to just rely on the wasabi inside the nigiri because the sushi chef has already put in the perfect amount of wasabi. The only time you use the wasabi that they give you is when you eat sashimi. You are supposed to put a dab of wasabi on the fish slice, fold the slice in half with the wasabi on the inside, dip the folded sashimi in the clear soy sauce, and then eat.
My favorite piece was a lightly seared toro nigiri sushi shown below. It seemed to melt in my mouth with the most decadent flavors. Yummmmm . . . I love good toro.
This uni was sweet, fresh, and had absolutely no off flavors. It was actually quite good. Creamy, sweet, and light. According to another Wall Street Journal article about this restaurant, Kyubei actually invented this particular type of uni sushi (putting uni on top of rice rolled in seaweed).
The grossest part was that the flesh was still quivering a bit while on the rice. It really grossed me out, and I chewed mine really fast to make sure it did not quiver in my mouth. The taste was sweet, and not a bit fishy at all. However, I was so distracted about the meat thumping in my mouth that I don't think I really enjoyed this piece that much.
Over all, we had an incredible meal here. The ambiance is intimate. You get almost personal service from a very experienced sushi chef (they all have to train 12 years before they can come out and make sushi for customers!) The food is unbelievable.
I won't forget this meal soon, and if I ever go back to Japan, I will visit another one of these amazing sushi places (there are still so many to try!)
All Rights Reserved