Jiro Ono’s, Tokyo restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro
In 2012, Trang and I watched a sushi documentary called, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The movie, tells the story of Jiro Ono and his lifelong quest to perfect his art. It was very inspirational, and I mentioned to Trang how crazy it would be to eat there. I never thought months later I would be spending my 30th birthday at Sukiyabashi Jiro.
Update 11/2019 – Sukiyabashi Jiro recently lost it’s three Michelin Stars due to its difficulty in getting reservations. All the clickbait headlines try to make it sound like they are too popular to deal with us ordinary folk. The real problem is that everyone wants to eat there, but they can only feed 10 people a day.
Here’s their recent post from their website explaining the situation. About reservations at the Head Office
So when people make reservations and don’t show up, it’s a disservice to them. It makes me understand why they have stopped taking call-in reservations. You can still attempt to make reservations the way we did through your hotel concierge, you’ll just need some incredible luck. Goodluck!
How we got reservations
Little did I know that shortly after watching the movie Trang began to research on how to get reservations. After about a month, and a lot of back and forth with our hotel and acquaintances, Trang managed to reserve our seats at Jiro’s restaurant. All without me finding out.
It wasn’t until the day before my birthday that Trang surprised me with the reservations. I was way more nervous than excited. If I had learned anything from the documentary, is that dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro was an intimidating eating experience. Intimidating enough that Sukiyabashi Jiro’s website even has a useful how-to guide called, “Dining at Jiro” that explains the proper way to eat at their restaurant.
I spent the rest of the day and the following morning learning how to say, “Oishii” which means delicious in Japanese.
The dinner service
The day of my birthday we got to the restaurant and were seated at the bar. They gave us little mats for our cameras and asked us not to take pictures of them but said the food was okay. As a result, I froze. I didn’t touch my camera for the rest of the meal. Thankfully trang managed to sneak some shots.
Jiro only serves an Omakase tasting menu, which consists of about 20 pieces of sushi. They were pretty serious throughout the meal, focusing on each piece of sushi. It wasn’t until after we finished the sushi and was moved to tables for our melon dessert that they were noticeably relaxed and let out the smiles.
As for the food, it is second to none. I thought I knew sushi, but it turns out I didn’t.
The fish was beyond soft, at times it was so delicate that I didn’t even feel any resistance as I bit through. With a taste clean enough to question if it even came from the ocean. I’m writing this five years after the experience, and sadly a more detailed description of the flavors escapes me.
The meal was very quick, the second you ate the sushi Jiro or his son is setting the next piece down for you, with the expectation that you eat it immediately. It’s a shotgun experience, and it’s quite filling. It took about 40 minutes to get through the entire Omakase tasting menu.
After the Meal
In the end, we asked for pictures with both Jiro Ono and his son, Yoshihazu. I think they were both surprised when we asked to take pictures with the son since the documentary had only been released in the states. He was excited to participate.
It was such a cool experience for me. To this day that dinner is one of my favorite travel memories. One that would have never happened if we hadn’t seen the documentary. If you like documentaries I highly recommend Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s an excellent film about the pursuit of perfection. I linked the official movie trailer below.
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