Hidden away in a Tokyo apartment building, Sushi Kinoshita is the best-kept secret for sushi connoisseurs seeking for a truly authentic experience. Blessed by Tokyo’s top Michelin chef, the restaurant curates a classic sushi menu of top-rated bluefin tuna and other seasonal catches. Reserve your seat early to enjoy this new restaurant before the word spreads.
The secluded restaurant is found in a condominium in the gourmet neighborhood of Nishi Azabu. As if visiting a friend’s home, you press the room number on the dial pad at the lobby and take the elevator to the second floor. Along the rows of ordinary apartments, you will quickly spot a pretty sliding bamboo door next to a sign with the restaurant’s name on it. The calligraphy is the work of the top chef of Nihonryori RyuGin, another three-star restaurant in the neighborhood, written with a wish for the restaurant’s success.
Supervised by the master chef of three-star Sushi Yoshitake, the ambiance of the restaurant is as sophisticated as its sushi. Taking up a space equivalent of two apartments, the interior is spacious with a main room and a private room, each set up with its own counter space. Despite the large square footage, the main Shiraki wood counter sits only eight people, to ensure the greatest attention for each guest.
The room is full of intricate details like the bamboo crosshatch on the ceiling and shelves on the wall to place a vase of seasonal flowers. Feeling welcomed, relaxed and special in the curated space, let your senses enjoy every bite of the sushi to be served.
A truly authentic experience
It’s about the nigiri at Sushi Kinoshita. To prepare your empty stomach, Sato serves a beautiful soup to start. Warmed to just the right temperature, a piece of juicy clam sits in a clear broth. Served in a beautiful black lacquer bowl, the soup has a gentle flavor that diffuses with the umami of the clam, cooked just enough so it’s still rare on the inside.
Be fascinated to watch Sato prepare each morsel of sushi. Using his long fingers, he scoops the rice out of the warmer and gently curves it into shape while making sure to let enough air in between the grains. This subtle but important technique ensures that the rice is soft and fluffy when you put the sushi in your mouth. The temperature of the rice also has to be perfect, about the same warmth as the palm of your hand, to unleash the fragrant aroma.
The shiny strip of gizzard shad, which has been resting for 3-4 days, blankets over the rice for a smoother texture. Light yet tasteful marbled sole is prepared as kobujime, a classic technique of preserving fish by curing it between layers of kombu to infuse it with umami. To bring out the different flavors of the fish, Sato makes several sweet nikiri soy sauces, each with varying amounts of salt and dashi, and brushes them on the fish just before serving.
The eight small dishes that come in between the nigiri helps guests take a moment to pause, sip a little sake and appreciate the entire experience.
Using a classic charcoal grill set up behind the counter, the chef cooks pieces of tokishirazu, seasonal “time-forgetting” salmon caught at sea during spring and summer. Accompanied with bright green endo beans and stalks of butterbur, the dish brings together the best flavors of the season.
The egg, a must-have for sushi fanatics to enjoy the flavor of dashi, has been slow cooked for over 3-4 hours for extra fluffiness. Baked with smoothly ground shrimp, the soft cake-like omelet is full of sweetness.
Seeking for the day’s freshest ingredients, Sato selects as many as twenty kinds of fish from the Tsukiji market every morning. Equally important, the rice is a blend of several Kyoto brands that have a good degree of firmness. The vinegar is a mix of three or four types, including red vinegar, with a balanced level of salt to complement the flavors of the fish. The wasabi comes from Izu.
For sake, he chooses about five high-quality brands that are crisp and dry. The Champagne collection is also diverse while the wine list is made up of mostly French bottles.
Of all the top-quality fish prepared in beautiful urushi trays, Sato’s most proud pick is hon-maguro, bluefin tuna. He procures the tuna from the established Tsukiji vendor, Ishii, with whom he has had a relationship for over a decade. The tuna has a great depth in flavor while soft in texture, making it perfect for sushi. The chef likes those that have been caught using a net. About two hours before the guest is expected to arrive, he starts preparing the big slab of tuna meat using a beautiful sushi knife. He carefully slices up the meat into otoro, chutoro, akami and zuke, each so unique in color, texture and taste. He sets each section aside to rest in different ways that maximize their own characteristics.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥4,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥4,000