This is the thirtieth post in the Around the World Birthday Extravaganza Series. Please scroll to the bottom to see all the other posts in this series.
The name "Sushi Ya" (すし家) translates to "sushi house" or "sushi shop". It is an ironically generic name for a restaurant that is producing some of the best sushi in Tokyo.
Young chef Takao Ishyama opened Sushi Ya in 2012 after training for years at some of the top sushi spots in Tokyo: Sushi Kanesaka (2-Michelin stars) and impossible-to-reserve Sushi Saito (3 Michelin stars). His technique is excellent, and he has quickly risen in fame over the last several years. Words used to describe him include "genius", "meteoric success", and "darling of bloggers".
I fell in love with the sushi at this tiny 8-seater restaurant. The rice was just the right temperature, the fish was exquisitely seasoned, and the overall experience was perfect. It was particularly noticeable to me because I had just eaten at Sushi Harutaka (one of Jiro Ono's best proteges) the night before.
I immediate found that I much preferred the delicate, balanced style of Chef Ishyama compared to the aggressive, boldly flavored style of Chef Harutaka. Better yet, our meal at Sushi Ya was about ⅓ of the price of Sushi Harutaka (to be fair, our meal at Sushi Ya was a lunch).
During lunch time, if you want a sushi-only meal, you can choose between an 11-piece option and a 14-piece option. You can also do a fuller omakase that includes sashimi. I went with the 11-piece option, and Bryan went with the 14-piece option. I will indicate below which pieces were part of the 14-piece option.
We both started with hirame (halibut). I loved the slightly warm rice that wasn't too vinegary. I also found the salt level to be spot on. All in all, it was a perfect bite.
Both of us had a tasting of tuna: chutoro (fatty tuna) and maguro (tuna). As part of the 14-piece tasting, Bryan also got a piece of otoro (super fatty tuna).
The ika (squid) served with salt and lime was sublime. I loved the texture of the squid. The kohada (gizzard shad) was also very good.
Bryan got the ebi (prawn) as part of the 14-course option.
Aji (horse mackerel) came with a green herb-like "pesto" topping; Katsuo (skipjack tuna) is one of my favorites and came with a small burst of flavor from another "pesto"-like topping.
One of my favorites - the ikura (salmon roe) was beautiful, tossed with lemon zest and a dark colored liquid at the bottom.
The stunning uni (sea urchin) only came with the larger tasting, so I didn't get one.
Bryan thought it was fantastic.
I thought the hamaguri (clam) was phenomenal, and anago (salt water eel) was solid but not the best I've had.
We ended with a miso seaweed soup and some hot green tea.
On a left, a simple kampyo (pickled gourd) maki sushi; on the right, lightly charred katsuo (skipjack tuna), one of my favorite things to eat in Japan.
We ended with tamago, or egg custard, a dessert that tastes more like a very refined cake than an omelet.
Our entire meal (for two!) came to $140 including sake, tax, and gratuity. This was a phenomenal deal compared to our ~$400 dinner at Sushi Harutaka the night before. Some say that the prices at Sushi Ya are a bit lower because he doesn't use as many exotic, expensive cuts of fish. However, he more than makes up for it with his sushi making skills, which are among the best in Tokyo right now.
The restaurant is surprisingly difficult to find, tucked away in a narrow, easily-missed alley. Even after you go down the alley, it's still hard to find the door since the sign is not written in English.
It looks like this.
I would highly, highly recommend coming here. The sushi is phenomenal, the prices are hard to beat, and Chef Ishyama speaks excellent English, which helps a lot! He does have a more serious personality, so the environment is friendly, but definitely a bit more quiet. There's less chatting with the chef. It is definitely different from the warm, jovial personality of Chef Sawada or the theatrics we saw at Kyubey.
Nevertheless, it was one of my favorite sushi restaurants we visited this trip (that and Yoshitake). When I go back to Japan, I most definitely want to return to try the longer tasting menus during dinner.
6-3-17 Ginza Chuo
All Posts In This Series
Around the World Birthday Extravaganza
Alba White Truffle Fair
Osteria Dei Sognatori - A Traditional Piedmontese Dinner
Italy Wine Tour - Barbaresco
Lunch at Donna Selvatica in Neive, Italy
Dinner at a Truffle Hunter's Inn - Tra Art e Querce
Trattoria Della Posta in Montfort D'Alba
Nighttime Truffle Hunting with a Dog in Alba
Osteria della Arco - last dinner in Alba
Stunning Images of La Morra and Barolo, Italy
First Day In Bordeaux, France - Une Cuisine en Ville
Chateau Haut-Brion Tour in Bordeaux France
Restaurant Le St. James
Touring Bordeaux Wineries - Day 1 - Left Bank
La Tupina, Bordeaux (traditional French dinner)
Cos d'Estournel Tour
Touring Bordeaux - Pauillac, Chateau Lynch-Bages
A Different Paris
Le Relais de l'Entrecote
Hiking at Mount Takao in Japan
Rokurinsha ramen breakfast (六厘舎)
Nakameguro Iguchi yakitori (中目黒いぐち)