It was a freezing cold rainy night in early February. Reservations were easily made about 4 hours prior to my reservation, same night, on opentable.com. I didn’t know they had one Michelin star, so this was a surprise to me (but that wasn’t the driving factor, I just wanted some sushi…)
Further down the flight of stairs was the entrance
After being shown my seat at the counter, I perused the sake menu, and already knew there was not much in the way of selection (or pick for the sake of your own pairing) based on what I saw, and from tabelog listing pictures.
Fortunately even when I asked for the sake menu in Japanese, they brought out a sheet in English. However unless you know the names of the sake and breweries in Japanese, chances are you don’t know what type they are. The sake menu also fails to inform whether the sake is a Junmai, Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo etc… so it complicates matters. You could ask waitstaff, but you might not get a desirable answer (or they don’t know, only the name of the sake, but maybe not so much the type). Like for example, you see Chablis listed, but no mention if it is Premier Cru, vineyard, or vintage…yikes. Let’s just assume it’s non Cru level, and maybe 2016 and younger vintage?
I ended up ordering the cheapest option, which was this Tama No Hikari Junmai Ginjo. Their Junmai Daiginjo Omachi is exported, but not this particular version. So it worked out in the end as a medium bodied sake with aroma and sufficient dryness…but not a great pairing with the food or sushi for me (but perfectly fine sipping on the side), though nothing clashed (just purely personal preference).
I opted for the 16,000 omakase menu which has fewer nigiri and more otsumami. They have a nigiri omakase for a bit less, and I figured why not go all out and try this one.
Tonight’s fish selections and their geographic origin of catch were listed at the counter.
Otsumami arrived quite quickly. Even before I could finish taking pictures, more came. And what was a bit uncomfortable was that they arrived within 1 minute of each other until I had a counter space full of small plates. I didn’t do a full spread, but it felt strange having to decide where to start…and then I went with the order in which they arrived
First up: sashimi trio of Chutoro (Oma), Hirame (Aomori), and Aoyagi (Konbumori, Hokkaido)
The Tamo No Hikari arrived around the same time. Nice looking carafe, but a fairly standard drinking vessel that enabled the sipping pace, but not the best drinking experience.
Insanely fresh and high quality shirako (Hokkaido), some of the best I had on this trip.
When this was placed in front of me, I asked the chef if this was yama imo, and he shook his head. I wanted to say I heard “Tsuki Imo” but I have not been able to find any further information. Topped with Hokkaido uni that despite the color, was still very tasty. Very old school washoku style combo.
Next was a beautiful simmered octopus “madako” (guessing it’s Sakura Ni preparation), from Sajima, Kanagawa prefecture. The layer of gelatin between the inner flesh and the suction cup was too good for words.
This was a very interesting non seafood item: sora mame, Japanese broad bean. Looks like a fava bean, but it’s not even starchy. In fact very deliciously sweet! Loved it.
The yakimono was nodoguro (shioyaki). To me this was just ok. Since this was not listed on the sheet of fish by the counter, I do not know where it was caught.
Sushi Fukumoto’s ginger for palate cleansing is ridiculously good. Perfectly sized slices and thickness, with the texture of a semi ripe mango, and the taste of sweet/sour/salt, almost reminds me of those Haw flakes candies (Hawthorns). So freakin’ addicting! On top of that the ginger is almost like candy, soft but with a gentle bite, and not a single bit of fiber.
It was then time for nigiri palooza (a small one). First one, Sumi Ika from Izumi, Kagoshima
Hirame from Kazamaura Aomori (just SE of Oma). Excellent texture and chew
Wild Bluefin tuna from Oma, Aomori
A great rendition of Kohada from Karatsu, Saga
Ma-aji from Awaji Hyogo (SW off the coast of Kobe)
Akagai from Miyagi
Kurumaebi, head and body, from Himeshima, Oita
Anago with salt, and one piece with sauce. From Matsuura, Nagasaki
As a result of the smaller fish selection, the hosomaki to end the meal was a tekka handroll
Soup closed the meal
Overall, a decent experience. It was not as mindblowing as some of the other places, but certainly a fraction of the cost of a typical Ginza sushi restaurant. Smaller fish selections, but many pieces very high quality (nodoguro was a bit forgettable as it was a touch overly salted). Otsumami all came out more or less the same time with very little pacing in between, so it felt a bit rushed. Super easy to make reservations provided you do so several hours prior (allow more time if booking on a weekend). Staff speaks English, and chef knows maybe one or two words…very friendly guy, but
I could tell some of the less well behaved locals appeared to get slightly different cuts. At that point I skipped asking if he had kanpyo and tamagoyaki and just called it a night.