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SUSHI YOSHITAKE 鮨よしたけ 3 Michelin Star, Ginza #CandidCuisineTokyo
Before heading for Tokyo, I promised myself I wanted to eat at a Michelin Star sushi restaurant. I had several months to prepare in advance so it was ample time for me to score a seat.
Of course, Sukiyabashi Jiro was on top of the list for me. But I didn’t dine at Jiro because Sukiyabashi Jiro was closed during the week (Obon Festival) when I was in Tokyo. (You can, however, try to make a reservation through GoVoyagin Concierge.) Besides, I think there are many many other Michelin star restaurants who deliver premium nigiri sushi that are also the best in Tokyo such as Sushi Saito, Sushi Iwa, Sushi Mizutani and Sushi Umi.
But if you were to ask, how I ended up dining at Sushi Yoshitake, I couldn’t quite figure out as well. There seems to hold some promise for Sushi Yoshitake and inside me, it was instinct that made me want to secure a reservation at this place. Masahiro Yoshitake just earned the respect of being in the Michelin Guide with 3 Stars given his Edomae style of preparing rice for sushi. Treating his sushi differently and less traditional from the rest of the sushi masters, Sushi Yoshitake combines different unique ingredients such as Wasabi stalks and Yuzu zest to enhance the flavor of his sushi. His fish? 70% are personally ordered by Chef Mesahiro Yoshitake himself, rather than having it delivered from the market. This made him standout from the rest of the pack and after reading about his simple yet exquisite plates of sushi, I knew right then that I have to dine at his restaurant.
Reserving a seat at Sushi Yoshitake is an absolute must. The restaurant has only 7 seats, after all and have two dinner sessions per night. You will have to check the website for any closing dates and ask your hotel concierge to reserve a seat for you. Sushi Yoshitake will not be entertaining reservations that are from overseas, so they will only accept reservations through your hotel.
It wasn’t hard finding his restaurant, which is located on the third floor of Suzuryu Building, in a quiet alley somewhere in Ginza. I wasn’t late, just shy of 10 minutes but there were already 4 people in the restaurant and 3 other vacant seats.
Before Sushi Yoshitake, Masahiro Yoshitake trained for 28 years in different restaurants before opening his restaurant in Roppongi. He then moved to Ginza, where most of the Michelin star restaurants resided. He speaks perfect English which should make you relax. The ambience is casual, and fellow diners were very friendly as well. Right then I knew, this Chef right in front of me, is becoming a legend.
After quite some time, a couple arrived. The lady was carrying a black Hermes Birkin bag and a Chanel shopping bag. Just setting the atmosphere for you, readers. We were all 7, and it was a full house.
I paired my sushi with green tea or Agari the entire time, but my seatmate and his pal were pairing different kinds of sake. I was never that kind of drinker and I want to taste sushi just the way it is.
Uni from Miyagi Prefecture with Corn Pudding
The meal opened with this dish: Uni from Miyagi Prefecture on top of with Corn Pudding. There are no words to express how much I enjoyed the Uni, all in a small cup. It was very refreshing, sweet and no doubt, fresh. Until today I can still remember how it tasted like in my tongue and the fact that the creaminess of the Uni was at the highest spectrum.
Next his assistant graciously placed some pickled ginger “Gari” and wasabi on my plate, then some red snapper. It was clean, though I am not exactly a fan of it. But it was still delicious.
What came next was very unexpected for me. Octopus Sashimi. I didn’t like Octopus, simply because I had a very bad experience when I was young and my dad took me to one of his client’s restaurants where we supplied restaurant furniture and they fed me with cooked octopus. I decided right then that Octopus wasn’t my cup of tea.
Then Masahiro Yoshitake opened my palate and fed me with Fresh, Raw, Octopus. As I hesitantly bit on it, I was generally surprised at how fresh and sweet the meat was. It was so succulent, chewy but it wasn’t slimy. I think that was extremely important for me. I loved its texture.
I watched Chef Yoshitake and his assistant carefully wash their utensils, truly revering their cuisine in every move. They really take their sushi seriously. This is why Sushi Shikon at Hong Kong, which Masahiro Yoshitake also owns. earned 2 Michelin Stars as well.
Steamed Abalone with Abalone Liver Sauce
The Chef placed Abalone Liver sauce in front of me. I tasted a bit of it and it was really really really creamy and delicious. Then we were served with the Steamed Abalone, which we have to dip on the Abalone Liver Sauce. Delicious. Without a doubt, the best dish I ever tasted in my life. Can I have one more?
The assistant placed some rice on the leftover Abalone Liver sauce that I have to mix. I really loved and enjoyed the dish.
Next was Bonito Sashimi, which was immaculate in texture and had an edge of ocean in it. On top of one Bonito was wasabi, the other had Yuzu zest which was citrusy and cuts through the meat easily.
Hairy Crab on Wintermelon Puree
Ah, who could miss this dish, after dining at RyuGin? I also was served the very same Hairy Crab on Wintermelon Puree. RyuGin had more Hairy Crab but both Sushi Yoshitake and RyuGin served excellently.
A waiter placed a small towelette or Oshibori beside me, which is for wiping thumb and finger when eating sushi.
I was so curious as the Chef brought out a large white plastic-like sheet that he had to cut several times before he was satisfied. And he occasionally tasted before putting small bit of wasabi then expertly wrapping in the Edomae style rice he is well-known for. How innocent I was until I realized it was Squid, which was kind of funny in texture, like fins jumping in my mouth as chew on it.
Here I used chopsticks. But I ditched my chopsticks with the next sushi that arrived, as the rest of the diners used their hands, saved for the lady who had an Hermes bag. She still used her chopsticks. (If you’re interested to learn more how to eat sushi, I’d recommend CNN’s article “How to Eat Sushi” as shared by Chef Koji Sawada of Sushi Sawada.)
Snapper sushi was the first sushi I had using my bare hands. And it tasted loads better. *thumbs up*
There was no need to introduce this lovely piece of sushi. Chutoro is fatty tuna and it was the best Chutoro I ever had.
What came next also need no introduction. Otoro is even fattier than Chutoro, as you can see in its texture. It was melt in your mouth goodness.
Sardine Sushi tasted much like vinegar, which I liked. It had a hint of soy on it glazed expertly on top.
Sushi Yoshitake once again surprised me with Tuna Maki, which all of us are already accustomed to.
But what the Chef placed on top of my plate was something I didn’t expect, never in a million years. It was Scallop. And right then, I was in Scallop heaven. I’ve been dreaming of this ever since Rene Redzepi of Noma took out scallop that is breathing on its shell. Divine. This was perhaps my second favorite after the Abalone.
Chef Masahiro is now working on his boxes of fresh uni. See it peeking from the boxes? I couldn’t wait to eat those.
And then all seven of us stared at the Hokkaido Uni, gloriously beckoning us to eat it. We all looked at each other and every took about 10 seconds to admire the creamy Hokkaido Uni that is perched on top of it. It was perfect and even tasted perfect. Hokkaido Uni is my favorite as it is color orange and that it tastes sweeter than other variants of Uni.
The Shrimp Sushi, though it didn’t reach what the Hokkaido Uni gave us was also outstanding. It was succulent and well-cooked.
And dining at a sushi restaurant during August without being served Anago is incomplete. This was even better than my experience at Sushizanmai at Tsukiji market. Anago is now my ultimate favorite.
Tuna Temaki is a must-eat at any Sushi-yas so this shouldn’t be missed. The seaweed was crisp and easy to chew.
I was then given two pieces of custard Tamago cake that is a sign that your sushi Omakase meal is about to end. These were unlike any Tamago I ever ate and was perfectly sweet and cake in texture.
A hearty Miso soup was set in front of me, as it is already the end of an excellent sushi meal.
Chef Masahiro Yoshitake asked us if we wanted additional pieces of sushi. The others stayed for a round of drinks and some ordered additional nigiri.
There was no doubt, Sushi Yoshitake raised the bar for me, and I know I will never look at Sushi the same way again. I highly recommend you to try out Sushi Yoshitake on your next visit. Every yen of money you will spend here will certainly be worth the sushi that can only be found here in the heart of Ginza.
Dining for a full omakase meal at Sushi Yoshitake will cost you at least 27000 yen + 10% service charge. Best if you bring cash with you as they sometimes don’t accept credit cards. No wearing of sandals, short pants or sleeveless but it’s okay to dress casual. You’re also not allowed to wear any perfume when dining at Sushi Yoshitake, or any other of these fancy restaurants.