Nick and I scoured the internets for the best sushi in Tsukiji market for our Tokyo adventure. We all knew that Jiro's in the Ginza subway stop (exit C6) was the best sushi in Japan, bar none and with three Michelin stars to prove it. However, Jiro's requires a reservation several months in advance and a few hundred dollars; we were looking for something a little more reasonably priced and without a reservation requirement.
According to the world wide web, and a colleague of mine named Osamu, the best sushi can be found at Sushi Dai. Finding Sushi Dai was another matter, when Lonely Planet's Tsukiji market map put it at the wrong location in the entire market. So ignore Lonely Planet's woefully incorrect map and follow the Tsukiji information station's careful instructions and see where the line is...
|Front line for Sushi Dai|
We (finally) arrived at the line at 9:48am and found what appeared to be three lines. There were two massive lines huddled around two tiny sushi shops next to each other and then a straight line around the corner; the Sushi Dai line actually had two distinct lines with one group of twenty or so people huddled out in front of the shop and then a separate line around that corner on the sidewalk facing the large, private part of the fish market. The other line in front of a shop with orange banners was for Sushi Daiwa, apparently the second best sushi joint in the area. The line was quite orderly and there was a restaurant hosted who served as line guard and kept records of people in line, their party's size and prevented people from cutting in line or jumping in the line by the door, instead of waiting at the true end of the line around the corner. We waited for three (that's right, three) hours before getting to go inside of the restaurant and sit down. We were about to give up when we spent most of the time waiting in the line on the sidewalk barely moving and needing to get snacks just to make it but were ecstatic as soon as we were promoted to the closer line. Waiting in line was painful but we had a lot of time to get to know a couple from L.A. we really liked during those three hours: Colt and Christina with whom we got to share a painful wait and a memorable meal.
|Happy sushi chefs|
So fresh, it's still moving
|Borderline illegal-looking uni|
|A row of red clam|
Everything we ate was carefully made and presented to us with a delicious mouthful of perfectly balanced rice and fish. Even the miso soup had bits of fish in it in a broth which hinted of the sea. Japanese people have a pursuit for perfection and craftsmanship that speaks volume to the food they make - part art, part architecture and completely wonderful.
We might have waited in line for an extraordinarily long time but we had a perfect meal, and a fun experience with the two new friends we had made, made better by the congenial and warm sushi chefs.
Best. Sushi. Ever.
|Excited to finally get to sit down for our sushi!|
|Our chef hard at work|
|Horse mackerel art|
|Red clam - still moving|
|Yellowtail from Hokkaido|
|Salmon roe - little surprises|
|Extra piece of Spanish mackerel|