Dining at Chef Hachiro Mizutani‘s 3 Michelin star Sushi restaurant for lunch in Ginza was one of the most amazing yet terrifying experiences of my food eating life.
The experience was amazing because each piece of sushi seemed like a work of art, so gently and precisely made. Chef Mizutani would make each sushi himself, right before your eyes and then place it directly on our plates as we watched in awe from the counter. This way of eating sushi is so rare in this world today where most people are used to picking ready made sushi themselves in a sushi chain restaurant or on a conveyor belt.
It was also very terrifying as I felt that Mizutani was sussing us out from the moment we walked in the door. It seemed like he was making sure we were worthy enough to dine in his restaurant. We had been advised a set of etiquette guidelines by Rebekah the night before which I think put even more preasure on us to not offend Mizutani.
The guidelines were as follows, you can apply most of these to any Japanese restaurant:
1. In most Japanese restaurants you are given a hot mini towel before the course. These are to clean your hands only, never wipe your face or any other part of your body with it. Once done you are to fold it neatly and place back on the dish it was given to you on.
2. If you are not handy with chopsticks it is ok to use your hands.
3. If using chopsticks, don’t rub chopsticks together as it’s insulting towards the chef, it shows that you think he doesn’t provide quality chopsticks. Once finished eating you should always place your chopsticks back down on the rest provided. Also, never stick your chopsticks in a bowl of rice or pass food chopstick to chopstick, I think these symbolise death. Lastly, never point with your chopsticks or have them linger around food while you decide what to eat.
4. Sushi is to be eaten immediately once placed on your dish. This is so you eat it at its most optimum time of freshness and flavor so it’s polite to eat it right away.
5. Sushi is to be eaten whole, in one go. I found this extremely difficult as I eat like a bird lol. Also, I think the course was 12 or more pieces of sushi as a total but I was getting so full only half way through!
6. No soy sauce is to be used to dunk your sushi in as it conveys that you know how to make sushi tastier than the chef. From memory Mizutani would add a sauce to the sushi which was perfect.
7. If ginger is provided this is not to be placed on top of the sushi. Ginger is a palette cleanser so is to be eaten in between each piece of sushi not together.
8. No perfume or strong smells are to be worn on you as it will over power the fresh sushi.
9. Don’t get up from the table, bathroom break is fine but you can’t go and make a phone call or have a smoke. There is a certain pace that the chef has in place so sit and enjoy the course.
10. Absolutely no photos are allowed. So unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the sushi, however he did agree to get a photo with us at the end so I think we passed the Mizutani test!
Overall, the sushi was so good, each piece so fresh and the fish/seafood used just melted in your mouth. It was truly an amazing experience and gave me a new appreciation for sushi.
After lunch we had a look round the Ginza district shopping district to try and walk off our full bellies. There were some amazing window and shop displays:
Much later on that evening, Che and I were feeling hungry again so we hit up our favorite burger joint in Tokyo, Freshness Burger! The name says it all really, all the food and drinks are fresh. My go to burger is the classic cheeseburger, always with a side of wedges. I usually get either the fresh lemonade or the homemade ginger ale, these are so fresh there is actual pulp in the drinks. I love that you have the option to have these drinks hot or cold as well. Drool over these pics…..