“Is that THE restaurant featured in a movie?”
“Oh, you have seen the film, haven’t you?”
“How was it? Was it really that good?”
That’s usually how the conversations started when people heard that I just went to Sukiyabashi Jiro in a recent Tokyo trip.
Work brought me back to Japan for a second time this year, and with more time to plan this time around, I decided to take full advantage and try out more restaurants around Tokyo. I was excited when my dinner reservation was confirmed for this small restaurant with only 8 seats. Okay, it’s not the original one owned by the legendary Sushi maestro Jiro Ono per se, but many would still consider its Roppongi branch – one managed by his younger son Takashi and with 2 Michelin stars to show forth – a close second.
And in case you were wondering, yes, I saw the movie a few months ago - and have been craving and dreaming for some good sushi since then. For those who haven't seen the movie, my recommendation is don't watch with an empty stomach.
I then moved on to some shellfish - including kuruma-ebi, uni, hamaguri, torigai (cockles) and kobashira (baby scallops) - out of which I love uni the most, as I would have expected. If I remember correctly, the other ones being served that evening included katsuo (bonito), anago (sea eel) and ikura (salmon roe) - late summer/autumn marked the beginning of the fishing season and I think I came at the right time.
I guess I still haven’t answered the question – “was it really THAT good?” – and this is the question I have been struggling to answer to this date.
Trust me, as I am writing this, trying to recollect the memories about this meal, I really wish I could sound more enthusiastic – after all this could as well be the most expensive meal I have ever paid for and naturally I wanted to make my every penny worth – but to my surprise, I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that I was disappointed; as a matter of fact this is a perfect meal in every sense – top-notch ingredients, presentation, chef techniques, service and atmosphere; I even quite enjoyed the limited interactions with the chefs and random conversations that I had with the couple that sat next to me.
So, was it really THAT good? I think my answer would be - "Taking away the hype and overblown expectation you might have, it's still great on an absolute scale". But given its hefty price tag, whether I will return any time soon would be another story.
when? September 8 2012
where? Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
menu highlights? Everything
drinks? Kamotsuru Tokusei Gold Daiginjo
Full set of pictures can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/sets/72157631566002288/