Minamiazabu Sushi Yoshida
A culinary and cultural journey through fine wine and fine food, Sushi Yoshida’s appeal is in a unique worldview that allows the chef to delight guests with creative sushi and heavenly pairings. In a city flooded with choices when it comes to sushi, be sure to put this one on the top of your list.
Even in the high-end neighborhood of Minami Azabu, the elegant and inviting Sushi Yoshida storefront stands out. The entrance is elegantly adorned with a restaurant signboard penned by a friend and standing paper lanterns, and as you approach the sliding door, you will notice the small metal handle is in the shape of an auspicious gourd.
Moving inside, the air has a gentle sweetness with the aroma of incense from long-time Kyoto incense maker Shoeido. The extraordinary interior is inspired by the traditional cultural performance art of Noh, and the chef takes his place on the stage flanked by an L-shaped unvarnished hinoki cypress counter. From the chef to the guests, everything is on one level offering front-row seats to every part of the preparation process. Gazing up at the angled roof, a keen eye will notice the presence of the four gods who reign over the four directions: moving clockwise from the East, Azure Dragon, Vermillion Bird, White Tiger, and Black Tortoise. Occupying pride of place within the counter is a pure Kiso Valley hinoki ice box constructed by a master craftsman, accented with celebratory sea bream motifs – a Kyoto artisan’s creation. The quintessentially Japanese touches continue in the dishes used to serve nigiri – original Kiyomizu ware pieces containing images of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido post road.
Enjoy beautiful wine pairings
The master views sushi as an integral element of Japanese culture and wants to share its delights with people from around the world. Guided by a background in sushi and Japanese cuisine, and even a California winery, Yoshida creates beautiful wine pairings capitalizing on his intricate knowledge of both cuisine and wine. The flavors are all the more enjoyable because of the chef’s detailed and enticing descriptions.
This unforgettable meal weaves together tsumami appetizers and nigiri sushi in a composition not bound by conventions or rules. It makes for an exciting experience as a diner because you cannot predict what will be next. In most cases, the toppings far outsize the rice to showcase the seafood. It is a highly calculated balancing act in which the rice ovals play a supporting role in bringing acid into the mix with a gentle rice vinegar-based blend.
The first nigiri guests enjoy is one of countless jewels of Ossetra caviar resting atop glistening, tender white squid. Lashings of the original caviar are scooped from an eye-popping 1.6-kilogram can – it is almost too good to eat. Another mouthwatering bite tops vinegared rice with kinmedai splendid alfonsino fish cured in kombu and then salt-grilled to perfection over charcoals. It is finished with a generous helping of freshly grated karasumi mullet roe. The chef’s drunken oyster is marinated overnight in a blend including Hakushu single malt whisky and Shaoxing wine. Stunning on the brilliant colors of Kyo-yaki tableware, this signature dish is best savored with a glass of red wine. Depending on the season, the dish is reincarnated with shirako soft cod roe, firefly squid, or kobakogani snow crab and sometimes marinated in sake.
Creating a mouthful you will never forget, the chef plunges into a wooden box of Bafun sea urchin to retrieve a square of the velvety delicacy several times larger than the rice it is placed on. The plump pieces are virtually falling off the edge as the chef hand-serves this nigiri onto diner’s plates. Another specialty whose appearance has earned it the nickname “Yoshida Bay Sands” features seared nodoguro blackthroat seaperch from Tsushima. Cured in kombu before chargrilling, the fleshy, juicy deliciousness makes you start dreaming of your next visit here. Other nigiri include Botan shrimp rested for three days for maximum sweetness, kohada gizzard shad pickled in a style reminiscent of traditional Japanese cuisine, not Edomae sushi, and kamashita tuna neck pierced with delicate incisions for a beautiful, smooth texture. And jabara - the rarest portion of fatty tuna – a true test of a sushi artisan’s abilities that Yoshida excels at.
The chef sources his ingredients from suppliers who are each bona fide professionals in their field. Maguro bluefin tuna comes from Yamasawa at Toyosu, including a longline caught 212-kilogram fish from the freezing waters of Oma, Aomori. Toyama Prefecture is the source of his koshihikari rice. The wasabi, in an unusual twist, is a blend of two varieties from Yamagata – one a highly aromatic type and the other that has a fantastic kick. The seasonings are typically understated varieties that only act to accentuate the natural flavors of the seafood toppings. His original Ossetra caviar is pickled at a 3% salt level, said to be the most delicious to the human palate.
The unique experience Sushi Yoshida offers is the marriage of wine and sushi. The high-tech wine cellar is filled with 250 varieties centered on Burgundy wines and bottles from his beloved California. Served in Zalto glasses, a typical pairing course begins with bubbles from Champagne, then meanders through two whites and two reds before finishing with sake. When the sushi artisan himself selects the wine, there are matches made in heaven!
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000