Our own dreams of eating the "best sushi in the world" come true
We made our reservations 4 months well in advance to arriving in Tokyo, and made them through American Express concierge to save us all the hassle. Read this blog post for more details on how to make reservations. There are two locations: Sukiyabashi Jiro (the original flagship with the famous chef and dad, Jiro), and Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi (run by Jiro's son, Takashi). Of course we tried to make reservations at the dad's restaurant, but were turned down twice. We were still lucky to get reservations at Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi, and were glad we made them through Amex.
About our experience...
As we walked in the door, a kind hostess asked us for our name and when she recognized the names, she said "Ah! American Express!" She seemed delighted to find that we were American Express customers, and we felt like there was some VIP treatment because she also mentioned to the chef, Takashi (Jiro's son) that we were Amex customers. She took our jackets, led us to a waiting table and served us hot green tea. We had arrived 30 minutes earlier but were asked to come back right on time for our 7pm reservations. We walked around the block to peruse a bookstore, and then returned promptly at 7pm. It's a good idea to come early because the restaurant is tucked away behind a shopping center and the outside sign is in Japanese characters. We took the subway to Roppongi Hills from Shinjuku, and walked past a bunch of high end shops such as Prada and Gucci-esque before walking behind the shopping center building and up some stairs. We used Google Maps/Location to pinpoint the location in the building because it was a bit confusing.
After drinking our tea, we were seated amongst the 7 open seats. Each seat was assigned and set.
At the Roppongi location, there are two meal options: Sushi only, or Sushi + Sashimi (it is something like a 17-course meal). We originally wanted sushi only, but eventually opted for the Sashimi course when we arrived. It was worth it!!
Before the meal started, Takashi acknowledged that he knew of my allergy to clams, and major dislike for wasabi. Thanks Amex for passing that message along. He carefully customized my servings to exclude wasabi. He even warned me that he was serving pieces that were "related" to the clam family, even though I told him it's the only shellfish I am allergic to. Takashi did not want any risks of serving me pieces related to clam (even though they were huge and did not look like clam to me!), and substituted with different fish. I was very thankful for that!
As our meal began, Takashi and his assistants diligently served us each piece of sushi. Each man carefully examined each guest to see if they were enjoying their sushi, and to make sure each person was eating it the correct way. If a grain of rice or drip of soy sauce was was dropped on the plate and you did not pick it up to eat, the assistant will come by with a cloth to wipe away that one grain of rice or drop of soy sauce.
I won't delve into too much detail about each serving of sushi/sashimi, about how orgasmicly good each bite was or how smooth and fresh the fish was, or how perfect it was. I'm hoping you get to experience it too and there will be no need for words! There were a couple pieces that I didn't fancy due to personal taste, but I'm still glad I was able to experience it! He will explain each piece of fish, where it came from, what cut it was, and sometimes how they prepared it. The fish are seasonal, so the servings won't always be the same.
Guidelines for Eating Sushi in Japan (especially at Jiro's!):
- Finish everything on the plate... down to each grain of rice. It is rude to leave anything on the plate after each bite. Don't waste the rice. Eat every bite. Rice is everything.
- Don't dip into the soy sauce unless he tells you to. He will give you the stink eye if you dip the sushi into soy sauce because the sushi is already brushed with the right amount of sauce. If needed, dip your ginger into the soy sauce and glaze the sauce on the top of the fish. But he did get frustrated with one of the customers who dunked every piece into her soy sauce and dropped all her rice into the sauce. no bueno!
- Don't mix wasabi to the soy sauce. Total newb move. Add the fresh wasabi directly on top of your fish if you prefer a little more kick.
- Eat the whole piece in ONE bite (don't break it apart, it's rude!). Don't take off the rice cuz you're eating paleo or something! One of the guests there pulled off the rice on each fish while we were there, and he was NOT happy!
- It's easy to specify your meal (i.e. no clams or wasabi) when making the reservations. They were able to kindly accommodate ours just fine. They were super strict with the modifications. Jay had the clams and wasabi still and loved them.
- The chef might get frustrated with one of his assistants for not perfectly doing something, but don't be put off by it. He yells at his staff cuz he cares about the guests.
Video: The 7 Sushi Rules You're Probably Breaking
Takashi, Jiro's son, says, "Do the THUMBS UP! The American Pose!"
This was our LAST dinner of our RTW Honeymoon, and also the most memorable. It has made us appreciate the art of sushi in a completely different way, yet ruined sushi for us as well. *Tear* We have still enjoyed some American and Californian sushi upon our return, but nigiri will never be the same! Especially uni, tuna, and octopus. We are so blessed to experience it and we hope you will get a chance to as well! <3