Monday, May 7, 2012

Sushi Daiwa, Tsukiji, Tokyo

 Fourth trip to Japan - but only the first that we bothered enough to wake up at 5:30am on a Monday to get to Tsukiji early enough to not queue for 20 hours for sushi!

 First time to Japan/Tokyo for me! as with any self-respecting foodie, I knew I had to do breakfast at Tsukiji fish market, even if it meant eating in semi-drowsy state. I also don't usually put rice in my belly at such hours of day, but I was genuinely very excited to eat slabs of amazingly fresh fish at our (humanly) earliest possible.

 We looked up a pretty useful post here and determined that if the queue outside Sushi Dai was not insane then we would go for that. But arriving at the restaurant front at 7am on a Monday, there was already a hour's-worth queue outside Sushi Dai, and no queue outside Daiwa - woot!

 A queue started forming just as we waited outside for seats for 4, but within 10 minutes we were in!

 Daiwa seems to have twice the sitting capacity than Dai, but still it was the familiar cramped and narrow space along the itamae. We ordered three omakase sets at 3,500 yen each (~$56). Sushi Daiwa's omakase set serves up 7 pieces of nigiri and 1 roll.

 We squished through and got counter seats after a not-very-long wait. Whee!

{ Tamago }

 My sis who doesn't eat raw fish, ordered 2 x tamago, which was met with a slight chuckle by the itamae. But good grief, was this one of the best tamago I've seen and had, huge and generous slab of dashimaki that's easily 3 times the length of the rice - sweet, juicy, soft and heavenly.

 I can assure you the tamago was about the size of a brick!

{ Ika, Chuutoro, Maguro-and -marinated-Ikura roll }

 Surely, many-a-wtfs were had around the table when the chuutoro was consumed, fresh and assuming high quality chuutoro definitely pwns many-a-ootoro at other smaller, sushi chains. The roll was surprisingly, a mix of maguro and marinated ikura, maguro soft and sweet, ikura gigantic and delectably fireworked in your mouth.

 What can I say - the fatty tuna jolted me awake, and I really didn't want to stop chewing. So soft, so smooth! It was the perfect balance of fish and sushi rice. And wow I don't know what kind of genetically modified gargantuan roe we had, but how can we ever go back to less-than-puny-sized ikura now??

{ Amaebi with shouyu, Maguro }

 The itamae will continue peer on your wooden planks to see if you've finished before serving you more, so that it minimizes the time between the sushi's making and your devouring. Can't say I felt 'rushed' during the meal, despite the queue outside.

 Actually I would prefer it if the chef served the next course of sushi only when we're done eating. I did want to take my time to chew and process each amazing bite - but I did feel a bit overwhelmed with a full tray.

{ Tai, and something }

 While I can't quite identify or remember what they all were, rest assured that they tasted magnificently fresh and well prepared.

 It was all a blur now - a whirlwind of amazingly soft and gorgeous fish. Everything was good and I simply could not fault anything. Let it be noted that I have not tasted any sushi so fresh and tasty in my life!

{ Ikura }

 After ordering a few extra ala carte, we left feeling extremely satisfied at having tasted one of the most popular sushi joints in Tokyo - queued, ate, and left all under 40 minutes. While trying Sushi Dai is also in order somewhere down the line just for comparisons sake, and while they do boast serving more in their omakase and friendly service (?), I wouldn't think taste wise would be a big difference. If you aren't willing to queue 1-4 hours for Sushi Dai, don't ever pass up Daiwa as a viable alternative!

Rating (out of 4) : 

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