Mar 26, '10

Sushi Matsumoto, Kyoto

Sushi Matsumoto

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.

Sushi Matsumoto
Sushi Matsumoto

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)…

Hirame
Hirame
Ika (squid) with salt
Ika (squid) with salt. I love squid and I love the salt, perfect combination
Maguro
Akagai (ark shell clam)
Akagai (ark shell clam)
Kasugo
Kasugo
Aji
Aji
Ebi
Forgot exactly what it was .. (Bonito?)
Forgot exactly what it was .. (Bonito?)
Sushi
Sushi
Hotategai roll
Hotategai roll
Kampyo maki
Kampyo maki
Uni sushi
Uni sushi
Tamago ( the taditional sushi omakase “dessert”)
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