After eating in all these “alpha” sushi places in Tokyo the standards for fish and rice get pretty high. I don’t want to sound snobbish – the first time I went to Japan I was so ignorant, I thought that sushis are the most basic meal to prepare, something everyone could do. When I realized that sushi making is real know-how and it is rice with fish, not opposite, I had a whole new picture in my plate.
Anyway, Kyoto is far away from the sea and the region is not famous for sushi. Remember, the Edo-mae, sushi as the whole world knows, was born in Tokyo. Sushi Matsumoto (570-123, Gionmachi, Minamigawa, Kyoto) is the only sushi restaurant in Kyoto that has received two Michelin stars.
I did feel that the Tsukiji market is far away from Sushi Matsumoto as some of the fish used was different than in the high-end Tokyo restaurants, but there was no problem with freshness. The rice was firm and sourer than in other places I’ve been to. Also, I noticed that the chef’s assistant did a lot of grilling. The signature of the chef?
Some things I discovered at Sushi Matsumoto were new for me. For example, the chef would do a sea urchin nigiri sushi, not a roll and at the end of the omakase, he would do a kampyo maki. Despite being a plant, kampyo, dried long strips of gourd, tasted incredibly similar to tuna (just slightly sweeter)…