Japan (Tokyo) Nov 2018: Sushi Kimura - the Master of Jukusei (aged fish)


#1

I was pretty excited when we found out we got in given the difficulty in getting a reservation. He specializes in aged fish, aging them several weeks (some of the pieces we got were aged over 4 weeks). You can find out more about Sushi Kimura from the below post on Luxeat: http://www.luxeat.com/blog/kimura-sushi-2/

Kimura-san had just returned from a two-week trip to Europe, and I saw after my meal the he served more “fresh” sushi and less jukusei sushi - what he is known for. So to be frank, we might not have gotten the full “Kimura” experience. All I know is that the meal was delicious and one of the best sushi meals I’ve had. Kimura-san himself is friendly and jovial, and his mother, who speaks excellent English and serves drinks, was so warm and sweet! Kimura-san has mastered how to age the fish by adding flavor without any of the side effects.

Let’s get to the food:
Sitting in front of the sushi counter as the anticipation builds:

Recommended sake from Kimura-san:

On to the otsumami:
Hamaguri broth - simple, yet delicious

Oyster butter

Soba with two kinds of uni - this was amazing, and tied with Ifuki for the best soba I’ve ever had

Grilled nameta-garei (slime flounder - had to look this up!)

Decadent Shirako with rice - tasted like risotto

Crab “shiokara” aged over 4 weeks - I loved this, but it had a touch of ammonia, and my dining partner thought it was a bit too pungent

Now on to the nigiri!
Kimura-san’s rice (I thought it used akazu, but now have been corrected and told it’s a mix) is powerful and made to suit the aged fish he serves. The first piece of nigiri is just the rice with nori - still delicious! This was probably my favorite sushi rice of the three places I went on this trip.

Thick-sliced ginger to keep up with the sushi

Sawara - this was so rich it tasted like butter

Isaki

Sayori - I always love needlefish, and this was a particularly lovely version

Katsuo

Kawahagi with kimo (liver) aged 4 days - we had this at every sushi restaurant, and this was my favorite version

Saba

Hokkigai

I thought this was originally just ikura, but you can tell that it’s more red - later found it’s red salmon roe, or “sujiko” aged over 4 weeks


Buri with shallots (you can’t see) - the flavor combination was amazing; this might have been my favorite piece of nigiri on my trip

Iwashi - yeah you know it looks good - check out that color!


Makajiki (blue marlin) - it’s his specialty and aged for a while (forgot to ask)

Tamago

Bonus round - they asked if I wanted any more, and I asked for kanpachi (I really wanted another piece of buri)

Grapes of Wrath :slight_smile:

All in all, Kimura met or exceeded expectations, and if I were fortunate enough to score another reservation, I would gladly return. Setting aside the difficulty in getting a res, the cost, and the fact that everybody was taking pictures of their food :), it really felt like being invited to somebody’s home for an amazing sushi meal.

PSA: Don’t shoot me if this doesn’t come to fruition, but Kimura-san told us that he’ll be in LA next year for the LA Times Food Bowl!


#2

Beautiful.


#3

Funny, I had a draft lined up of my visit a year ago and I thought maybe it magically appeared :sweat_smile:

Thanks for this report! Yeah Kimura was in London and Barcelona with one of the famous Opinionated About Dining jetsetters/models (Aiste herself aka luxeat) along with the chef from Tempura Nitome. Supposedly Kimura had bluefin which he never serves, but given the lack of time to age and him serving relatively fresher or less aged fish is quite interesting indeed.

When I went a year ago, it was about a week after a typhoon had hit Tokyo and there was a shortage of fish, but luckily most of his fish were aged (pre-typhoon purchase). Did not get the fermented crab, but did get that spectacular grilled nameta garei that was not just fatty but had lots of flavor and complexity.

You are very lucky to be able to try that recommended sake. I was just recently told about it, it’s by Ouroku brewery located in Shimane prefecture, and the one you were poured is a Junmai Ginjo nama with a different label “Kei”…王祿溪純米吟釀 for the kanji: it’s either a nama nama or a single pasteurized (the bottle label by the neck would have given this info) and perhaps the back side label of the bottle. Either way I’m told it’s really amazing and this “Kei” was built to pair with seafood. The only US exported Shimane sake that is nama would be Kakeya but a sake sommelier in Tokyo told me Ouroku runs circles around Kakeya and can’t compare (and Kakeya is pretty darn good already). Some sake geeks/retailers in Hong Kong were trying to export Ouroku, but the brewery could not guarantee quality in transit and denied officially exporting any. Ouroku is also only sold in select sake shops across Japan, and thus not as accessible or easy to find. Kimura stocks some very eclectic selections, small producers (and each with their own story), so kudos to him for that. Last year I tried a Junmai Daiginjo that was only sold in one shop in all of Tokyo (I managed to track it down too but got a lower grade more food friendly version).

The oyster butter looks like something he did before (which I did not try) which was taking ayu and grounding it up like a fine paste, maybe not as creamy looking as the butter.

Agreed, Kimura’s rice is specatcular. So much texture and a ton of umami as a result of the organic vinegar he uses from Kyoto.

The Makajiki is typically aged around 48 to 51+ days. While it is the most well known, it was my least favorite during my visit (his aged kohada, kinmedai, and iwashi were highlights for me, and the non aged items that were spectacular: kuro awabi and anago).

Tamago actually contains some aged fish grounded up and mixed in.

I’ll put up my review of last year’s visit when I get a chance!


#4

Had me at the first picture!


#5

Wow! :heart_eyes:


#6

Was the roe still attached to the sacs?


#7

Thank you for the information, especially on the sake! I didn’t know much about it, but I remember I liked it so much that I just asked for refills of that one instead of having them “osusume” another one.


#8

I don’t think so - I had to google sujiko pictures to comprehend your question actually (had never seen sujiko before), and I don’t remember them being in the sacs that envelope the entire piece of roe…