When you sit at a 7 places sushi counter, you will most likely end up making conversations with your neighbours. My neighbours at Sushi Saito ( Jidousha kaikan Bldg. F1, 1-9-15 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo,tel. 03-3589-4412 ) – a nice Japanese couple who comes to this sushi bar regularly and who also spends their summer holidays in the South of France. We spoke about sushi, fish in Japan, in France and “why don’t Europeans like their fish” as they “overcook it and cover in sauces”, “so you can’t even see which fish you are eating”. This point of view was particularly interesting as somehow it’s true. The philosophy of Japanese cuisine is the complete opposite. It is all about respecting ingredients and instead of overcooking them, emphasising their freshness and natural texture.
Takashi Saito is just 39 years old, but already runs one of the best sushiyas in Tokyo. He used to work at Kyubei, now he stands behind the sushi counter of his 3 Michelin starred, pocket sized restaurant, located in a garage in front of the American Embassy. What makes Sushi Saito so special? The “mind-blowing” quality of the fish; the fact that every morsel of the fish is served at a certain temperature; or that some of the fish is “aged”, so all it’s best flavours are brought out. (This pushes the Edo-mae sushi method even further.)
Most of all, Takashi Saito is known for being outgoing and friendly with his guests. You can even order champagne or wine with your meal – I have never seen that before at any other traditional sushi restaurant in Tokyo.