This is the thirty-first post in the Around the World Birthday Extravaganza Series. Please scroll to the bottom to see all the other posts in this series.
It's been two years since Bryan first visited this tiny, 7-seater, 3-Michelin starred sushi restaurant during a business trip to Tokyo. I'll never forget it. He called me from Tokyo raving about this place. In the same call, he used the words "best dish I've ever had in my life" and “we really have to go back to Japan so I can take you there.”
When we planned the Japan portion of our Around the World trip, Bryan only had one request: Sushi Yoshitake.
Sushi Yoshitake is special for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, Chef Masahiro Yoshitake does not adhere strictly to the traditional Edomae style. He takes more liberties, injecting all sorts of creativity into his preparations. Yes, there is still plenty of traditional sushi, but he also creates some mind-blowing, non-traditional flavor combinations.
The Bryan-proclaimed "best dish I've ever had" is one such dish. Fresh abalone served with a decadent sauce from the abalone liver is absolutely divine. A "trio of uni" that uses two-year aged uni is a revelation.
Masahiro Yoshitake is also very fluent in English, having spent years working in New York city as a sushi chef. He's friendly and talkative, and the atmosphere is relaxing inside his tiny 7-seater sushi bar.
I absolutely loved my meal there. It totally lived up to Bryan's "hype." I would not hesitate to return again the next time I go to Tokyo.
He lets you take photos, but only with a phone (no SLRs or even pocket cameras). I'm glad that smartphone cameras are getting better and better, because these photos actually aren't too bad.
Here's a look at our very memorable meal!
We started with a female snow crab with crab roe gelee.
Clockwise from the top left: Barely seared Kinmedai (golden eye snapper) was fantastic, served with a special fish bone soy sauce. The Tako (octopus) from Hokaiddo was super tender. Gorgeous slices of Bonito (skipjack tuna) came with perfectly crisped skin, ginger, scallions, and a wasabi sauce. Ikura (salmon roe) was mixed with a clear brown sauce and served over sushi rice.
This is the famous, signature Abalone dish. The abalone itself is excellent, but it's the liver sauce that's out of this world. It's this very sauce that made Bryan proclaim two years ago "this is the best dish I've ever had in my life". He still maintains that position today, in fact. The liver sauce is so good, you're thrilled when Yoshitake hands you a small dollop of rice after you've fished the abalone piece. Mix the rice with the sauce, and enjoy Act II of this memorable course.
Male snow crab legs come over a gelee and are topped with a sauce made from the crab's "innards".
From upper left corner, clockwise: Ika (squid) was perfect texture and excellent flavor. Tai (sea bream) was very good. Otoro (fatty tuna) was fantastic. Akagai (ark shell), had a fresh crunchy tasty. It was borderline salty for me, but fine for Bryan.
Kohada (Gizzard shad) with oboro was quite salty (a bit too salty for me).
Yoshitake's assistant began cooking baby octopus on a coal grill.
Here is a close up of my personal favorite course. On the bottom layer, uni is mixed with rice and kombu (seaweed) powder. The next layer consists of several pieces of fresh uni. Finally, at the very top is 2-year aged uni. It is very dark orange and intensely flavored. Everything about this course was perfect: the chewy al dente rice, the deep, rich, intensely-flavored aged uni, and the sweet, creamy fresh uni.
The prawn was fresh and very good.
Near the end he made a simple tuna hand roll, which we dutifully ate with our hands. We also received a cup of miso soup (not pictured). The broth was intensely flavorful, like a rich seafood stock. Ginger sprouts gave it added complexity.
The Anago (sea eel) was smoked over leaves. It was soft, melt-in-your-mouth, and slightly sweet. I loved the sweet smokiness of this course, which was the perfect prelude to the delicate and luxurious Tamago (egg).
It was a very, very memorable meal. Yoshitake is a genius at what he does, and it's really fun to taste his creations. This was definitely my favorite sushi meal of the entire trip. I will never forget some of those dishes, like the aged uni or the abalone liver course. Furthermore, Yoshitake-san is a fun and friendly sushi chef, which makes the whole experience relaxing and fun.
I would highly recommend coming here!
Details for Sushi Yoshitake
Definitely book early, since there are only 8 counter seats at the sushi bar (plus 4 private seats). Booking requires giving them a credit card. The cancellation policy is 100% same day, 50% one day before, and they won't take any excuses for cancellations, not even a canceled flight. Reservations open up for the following month on the 1st of the prior month (e.g., November bookings open up on October 1st). We contacted our hotel about two months before our trip, and they were able to get us a booking in November by contacting the restaurant on October 1st. There is no dress code, but they do ask that you do not wear strong perfume.
Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
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)
Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory - Totoro Cream Puff