[Tokyo, Japan] Jiro Dreams Of Sushi. I dreamt of his sushi.
3-star Michelin Sukiyabashi Jiro すきやばし次郎 run by sushi master Jiro Ono has been touted as one of the most difficult restaurants to book in the world, other than Noma and Sushi Saito.
Reservations have to be done a month in advance, in Japanese language with a local number from Japan. Its popularity multiplied after the award-winning documentary.
That means you need a reliable hotel concierge or good Japanese friend to make that call for you on the first day of the month at 9am (Japan time) for the next month.
I had no strings to pull, but fortunate enough to get a booking at the Roppongi branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro (link for reservation details), helmed by second son Takashi Ono. 2-star Michelin nevertheless.
This is one of those meals that I actually felt stressful before entering the restaurant, and made sure I was more than punctual.
For those who are there only because of the movie, I would suggest doing some reading up on the Japanese sushi etiquette and dine at more sushi restaurants prior to going straight to Jiro. Sushi rolls don’t count. (We heard of horror stories of customers requesting for cooked sushi from Jiro.)
There is an option between a sushi or sashimi lunch set. The 15-course lunch set would set you back by 18,400 Yen and 20-course dinner at 25,900 Yen.
At the end of the meal, you would be asked if you wanted additional orders, or one repeat of any of the sushi.
The sushi course could take below 45 minutes. Pace yourself, just eat (don’t eat a heavy meal before this), don’t talk too much.
Our stress was dispersed by the 4th sushi, when the seemingly jovial Chef Ono Takashi and his team interacted with us in simple English, and occasional Mandarin.
He would occasionally refer to the movie, “Have you seen this sushi in OUR movie?” Chef obviously knows how to work his customers.
The American seated next to me was a fan, “Yes I watched it 3 times!”
The stress, however, could be felt on his team. The perfectionist Chef was no-nonsense, and gave some firm but unobstructed telling-off if the food is not prepared up to standard – a fallen grain of rice, or a small stain somewhere.
We didn’t understand Japanese, but non-verbal tell.
There were some of my favourite sushi during the meal.
Uni – Sea Urchin
Do not allow any distractions to come between you and your sushi. Just put the entire uni sushi into your mouth, and savour that rich unparalleled creaminess from the top grade uni from Hokkaido. Umph, oomph.
If you have watched Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, you would know that the nori seaweed used to wrap the sushi is grilled every morning. Such dedication to perfection.
Kuruma Ebi – Japanese Tiger Prawn
These tiger prawn are boiled, allowed to cool for moments before making them into sushi.
The chef recommended for customers to eat the tail, then the head which has fuller flavours due to the innards. Indeed, we all preferred the upper head portion fresh, sweet with bite.
Shin Ika – Juvenile Cuttlefish
Smooth glossy shiny white, full of flavour, savoury.
Areas to note for reservations and dining
– Jiro accepts reservations from 9am of the first day of each month for the following month.
(For eg, if you would like a reservation for August, call on the 1st of July at 9am Tokyo time.)
– The exceptions are Sundays (Ginza branch) and Wednesdays (Roppongi branch) when they are closed, and end-December early-January for annual holidays.
– Reservations have to be made in Japanese.
– Most international customers would make reservations via their hotel concierge.
– Do not be late for the reservations.
– Dress code: Collared shirts or jacket. (No shorts or sandals.)
– Refrain from wearing strong cologne and perfume as that would interfere with the smells and taste of the sushi.
– Observe proper sushi dining etiquette. For example, eat the sushi immediately when it is served and not let it sit, don’t break/bite the sushi into two, don’t dip sushi rice into soya sauce, and don’t separate the sushi topping from the rice. That would be seen as an insult to the sushi chef.
Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi すきやばし 次郎 鮨
3F, Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Residence B, 6-12-12 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan (10 min walk from Roppongi Station, walk towards Mori Tower and stay on Level 3)
東京都港区六本木6-12-12 六本木ヒルズ けやき坂通り3F
Tel: +81 03 5413 6626
Opening hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2pm, Dinner 5pm – 9pm
Closed Wed and Public Holidays, and during late Dec to early Jan for annual holidays)
Reservation Online – Roppongi branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro
B1F, Tsukamoto Sozan Bldg, 4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: +81 03 3535 3600
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Closed Sun and Public Holidays, and during mid-August, late Dec to early Jan for annual holidays)