For well-heeled world travelers, a set of Louis Vuitton luggage is a luxury worth paying for. For Chef Takamitsu Yasuda, it’s the perfect counter to serve his delectable morsels of sushi. Famous for its impressive offering of sea urchins and fatty tuna, Sushi Takamitsu lures fashionable guests with an evening of ultimate extravagance.
Set on a quiet Nakameguro backstreet along the Meguro River, Sushi Takamitsu opened in May 2011 with a unique mission. From ingredients to performance, every aspect of the experience at this sushi bar centers on the idea of luxury. Coupled with the chef’s superb craftsmanship, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to secure a spot on the 11-seat counter.
The decor is an original mix of traditional architecture and stylish details. The most notable feature is the set of Louis Vuitton briefcases that are placed neatly across the counter. Given to the chef as a gift from a customer, they become the tray on which he places gorgeous pieces of sushi. He also stores his favorite Baccarat and Hermès tableware inside them. Even the Japan head of Louis Vuitton visited to witness his iconic product being used as a part of such a unique culinary experience.
“I love everything that is luxury,” says Yasuda, who wraps his head in a Hermès silk scarf and wears sushi-motif cufflinks. “I only serve expensive wine as well.”
Despite his extravagant style, Yasuda’s cuisine is based on solid craftsmanship, built over 15 years of training at the renowned Sushikou in Jiyugaoka. To welcome his guests, he arranges fresh flowers himself every day before he opens the restaurant.
“I love everything that is luxury”
Sea urchin and bluefin tuna are the two delectable icons of the Sushi Takamitsu menu. In peak summer season, sea urchins appear as many as six times throughout the elaborate omakase meal, made up of 25 small dishes and nigiri.
As your eyes browse the row of sea urchins, you can see how each variety is unique in color, size and texture. To start, the purple sea urchin from Oma, the tip of Aomori Prefecture, is sweet, plump and large enough that it fits over the shari of a nigiri. Another brand of purple sea urchin, sent from Hakodate, has a more balanced flavor. Slightly smaller in size, four slices of them are layered on top of one another. Mounted ever so generously over the small shari, bafun sea urchin from Akkeshi in Hokkaido brings the sweetest aroma of the ocean.
Sourced from the top vendor Yamayuki, the day’s tuna came from a 205 kg fish caught in Hachijo Island. The perfectly marbled piece of chutoro is served fresh, rather than matured, to bring out its natural flavor. The otoro is so potent in flavor, it’s the best way to enjoy the true umami of the fish.
For Yasuda, there’s no compromise on the quality of the fish. His daily offering besides sea urchin and tuna are equally remarkable. Said to be one of the most expensive catches, the horse mackerel from Izumi in Kagoshima is nothing like you’ve ever tasted before. Caught by 'ippon-zuri', or single-hook hand-line fishing, the fish is packed with sweet fat and flavor.
“Good fish sits well in your stomach,” he says. “The oil in high quality fish can help cleanse your body and mind.” To prepare the freshest shari, he spends a great amount of time to cook six separate batches of rice every day. “You have to do extraordinary things for extraordinary flavors,” he says. The shiny grains are cooked perfectly al dente. The nikiri brush-on sauce is made to be subtle, not to overpower the natural flavor of the fish.
Over the past five years, Yasuda has been dealing with Yamayuki, one of the country’s top tuna vendor in Toyosu. Thanks to the trusted relationship, he receives shipments of the finest catches from key ports like Oma on the northern tip of Honshu Island. The sea urchin is also shipped directly from Toyosu. During peak June-September season, he gets his hands on as many as 20 variations from across the country, including the most famous brands and some rare finds.
“If there’s something I really want, I will outbid everyone,” the chef says as he shows the collection of rare varieties of sea urchins. Many are as pricey as 50,000 yen a tray. For the shari, he blends Ryu No Hitomi, Akita Komachi and Koshihikari from Saga Prefecture. He likes to mix large and small grains to create a unique texture. The vinegar is a blend of two types of red vinegars and a brand of rice vinegar. The seaweed is called Ichiban Nori, the first batch picked in the season, from Shiga Prefecture.
Unsurprisingly, the drink menu at Sushi Takamitsu is also first class, and incredibly diverse. For Champagne alone, he stocks a curated selection of more than 20 vintages, including Delamotte, which he likes to serve by the glass. Almost all the white wines are Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc from France, while about a tenth comes from Napa. In addition, there is about 30~40 vintages of sake to choose from, as well as whiskey, tequila and even vodka. “I want to make sure I can serve something that the guest desires,” he explains.
SEA URCHIN and TUNA
At the heart of the Sushi Takamitsu experience is the sea urchin. The wooden boxes and trays of various brands, including many rare kinds, are showcased side by side on top of the Louis Vuitton briefcases. “Sea urchin is ultimately at the top of delicacies,” the chef says. “I want to astonish guests with the best of the best.” Even during the off-peak winter seasons, he is able to impress guests with a solid variety. The ingredient that Yasuda is equally proud of is the bluefin tuna, sourced by the famous vendor Yamayuki, in Toyosu. Thanks to the solid relationship, Yasuda gets priority with the finest quality supply. Again, served generously on top of the luxurious leather trunk, it is an image you will never forget.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000