Calling a restaurant “the best in the world” or awarding it with one, two or three stars is a very Western notion. If you ask any well travelled foodie ( including me ) what is the best sushi shop in Tokyo, she would mention Sushi Saito, Sukiyabashi Jiro or other sushiyas which have 2 or 3 Michelin stars. If you ask that a Tokyoite, she would probably
laugh or look puzzled.
I would have never heard of Sushi Miyako in Tokyo if not an email from one reader living in Japan. He sent me a tabelog link saying “that like many of the excellent restaurants in Japan, this place has no Michelin stars. “ I booked the restaurant immediately I arrived in Tokyo this August ( or rather asked the Peninsula hotel, my favorite in Tokyo, concierge to book it for me ) and, after once again getting lost with my taxi in narrow Tokyo streets, there I was in front of the sliding doors of Miyako sushi.
The little place was full, quite loud and less “temple like” or fussy than other top sushi shops I’ve been in Tokyo. Like, for example, the fish destined for that evening’s sushi was not in a wooden box, but under a plastic cover in front of you , just like you would see at more casual sushi shops. Or, the chef would disappear in the kitchen for a few minutes to finish preparing his rice… The sushi though was as perfect and irreproachable as at 3 Michelin stars restaurants. The sushi master (quite young, considering that most of the sushi masters in Japan are over 50) is a perfectionist who I was told by my dinner neighbour sleeps only 3 hours a night. I especially liked his rice – room temperature, just slightly sour, each grain perfectly defined.
The whole omakase , including sake and tea cost me 14 000 Yen, quite reasonable for Tokyo standards, considering that 3 Michelin starred sushi omakases can cost up to 20 000 – 35 000 Yen… Sushi Saito is still my favorite sushi shop in Tokyo, but after visiting Miyako sushi, I have a feeling that Michelin guide in Japan is sometimes irrelevant. 3 Michelin stars is really not what separates these two restaurants…
Kare (flounder) and katsuo (skipjack tuna) sashimi
Ikura ( salmon roe)
Akamutsu ( yellow stripe ruby snapper)
Ankimo (monkfish) liver
Young kohada ( gizzard shad)
Tai ( sea bream)
Kasugo (baby snapper)
Chutoro (fatty tuna)
Aji ( horse mackerel)
Kinmedai (golden eye snapper)
Uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido
Uni from Kyushu
Miso soup with clams
P.S. Thanks for the address, Robert!