Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to score a reservation at the critically acclaimed sushi bar founded by Naomichi Yasuda. Yasuda-san, originally from Japan, has recently returned after spending 25+ years in New York to try his luck in the Tokyo sushi scene. As the only time we could get was the day we arrived, we decided to push through the tiredness and go to our reservation. A decision I will never regret – Yasuda was hands down the best sushi I have ever or will likely ever have again. Yasuda-san was extremely friendly and jovial and kept referring to his sushi bar as a “Sushi Public House” – there were no rules except his request you eat your sushi quickly (as the flavor changes as it warms up) and try to eat it in one bite.
Yasuda-san, a former kyokushin karate competitor, still practices and talked to us how his fighting stance and the concentration one gets in karate training is helpful in preparing sushi. He took care to explain everything we were eating and went into so much detail sometimes even I had trouble figuring out what he was talking about sometimes. This guy knows his sushi! For instance he has developed his own method for the preservation of fresh fish. He’s found that deep freezing fish to a specific temperature preserves both it’s taste and flavor. While I’m no expert, the fish he told us he had previosuly frozen tasted like it had been caught that day. He will also age certain fish to fully allow the flavors to develop. Certain fish he states is not good if eaten the day it was caught,
To Yasuda-san, the rice is the most important part of sushi preparation. Which, if you think about it, makes a lot sense. Anyone can go to the market and pick fresh fish but the flavor and amount of rice with the sushi completely changes the taste of the fish. He went on to explain that even the pressure used to press the fish in a ball to form the nigiri is important. Yasuda kept telling us no-one trained him how to make great sushi. When asked how he became who he was today, he simply replied “By listening to my customer!” Yasuda went on to claim there is no difference between Japanese sushi and American sushi. He stated there are only two types of sushi: Good and bad.
Knowing I was a Uni fan, he was proud to tell me he had 4 different types of Uni that day – and WOW is all I can say. This place was heaven. I highly recommend anyone in Tokyo that enjoys sushi to go. Both because of his style of explanation and the quality and intimacy of his sushi. This place is nothing short of amazing and should be on any sushi aficionados list while traveling to Tokyo.