First sushi meal of the trip. The plan was to start with a classic representation of Edomae sushi upon our arrival in Japan, Bentenyama Miyako in Tokyo, but sickness and jet lag got in the way (we didn’t have reservations, so thankfully didn’t have to cancel). I found out about this shop from TokyoTableTrip. Yoshitomi-san did a pop-up near where we live in Brooklyn, but we missed it (@Sgee didn’t), so thought it would be fun to catch him on his home turf. This shop seems easy to book, at least for lunch: our hotel concierge (Okura) made the reservation the day before. The taisho has a very serene and warm demeanor. The interior of the restaurant amplified this with it’s rustic design. It does not feel like a sushi temple; it feels like you are in a craftsman’s workshop. I read that the chef used to work in kaiseki cuisine and although no elaborate tsumami were served at lunch, there were some creative touches to the nigiri that perhaps reflect his previous training. There was also prodigious use of the grill to prepare many neta; which based on others’ accounts, seems characteristic of sushi shops in Kyushu.
The exterior design accurately reflects the interior. It’s worth looking up photos of the exterior in the Spring & Summer to see the vines with their full foliage.
The chef didn’t speak any English. His gregarious manner became more apparent as he joked with a couple of Japanese women who were regulars. I don’t have any photos of the chef’s assistant, who was fairly fluent, and was also supremely hospitable.
Unique oroshiki (sharkskin grater). Perhaps a custom design?
Yoshitomizushi stocks just one sake, a custom brew. Maybe @beefnoguy knows more? It did pair very well with the sushi.
The lone tsumami: simmered tako, served room temp with jellied dashi. Enough texture to coax out lots of umami. This fulfilled its’ function of whetting the appetite.
I only have video of the first piece of nigiri, but this was perhaps the best piece: kombu-cured, seared nodoguro topped with a thin slice of kabu (Japanese turnip).
Seared amadai (tilefish). The shari was served at body temp with light seasoning. The vinegar (white) was present but subdued, with perhaps a little sugar. Nigiri were mostly on the small side, but not too small.
Sawara (spanish mackerel) zuke no ninniku-shoyu (marinated in garlic/soy)
Chutoro-zuke (marinated tuna, not sure from where)
Shima Aji (striped jack)
Tairagai (penshell clam) - grilled
Akagai (arkshell clam) - nearly impossible to find these one in the US!
Kurumaebi (tiger prawn) from Kyushu
Nice medium size, very plump and juicy! The prawns were cooked just after our arrival and were still slightly warm when served.
Hata (grouper) - excellent chewiness and fat! A great example of the local seafood available in Kyushu.
Grilled Fugu Shirako (blowfish mil) - another highlight, like a fish marshmallow!
Ika (squid) w/salt & yuzu
Anago (sea eel) from Nagasaki w/sansho
Aka-miso (red miso) soup with shimeji mushrooms
I would have encored the nodoguro; it was an exceptional piece. We were not asked for add-ons at the end, and we did feel satiated. A charming meal and I would gladly return here, although I’m very curious to try a number of other shops in & around Fukuoka.
Toto, but not the kind I was hoping for…