Ryu-zushi, Tokyo 2
August 27, 2013
On April 1, 2013, Kent and I went to the Tsukiji Market. It didn’t seem as interesting or photogenic as it had three years ago. We arrived at 9:30 which surely made a difference. My previous visit started at 7:00, but now the wholesale area is not open to tourists until 9:00. At 10:00 some of the vendors are starting to clean up and one has to dodge a lot of activity in the aisles removing fish that has been bought by retailers or restaurants. It was striking to me how much more Styrofoam there is now; it is not as photogenic as the wooden, or even plastic, tubs used before. I understand that Styrofoam recycling technology has improved a lot.
A highlight was the young apprentice chefs just hired by a large sushi restaurant chain. (It is typical in Japan for new hires to start in a group on April 1 so they can be trained together.) They went up and down the aisles in groups of six or seven saluting with loud shouts and bowing to the wholesalers who would be their suppliers and being saluted in return. They had on new chef’s jackets and white boots with their names on them.
We walked over to Tsukiji’s main restaurant area where there were substantial lines. In a secondary area I found Ryu-zushi, where Linda and I had eaten three years ago. There were empty stools at the counter so we took them. Kent told the chef that we would have whatever he wanted to serve us. Tea, soy sauce and an oshibori napkin were put in front of us.
The chef prepared our sushi in groups of four, as the two elderly Japanese ladies next to us were having the same.
The sushi pieces were put on the counter in front of us one at a time. We needed to eat them quite quickly as the rice was warm and the fish cool. Rice is in the large white vat in the lower left corner of the photo. As before, no chopsticks or wasabi were provided as the excellent rice here is quite fragile and needs to be eaten by hand. Wasabi is put between the fish and the rice by the chef as he thinks it is needed. As he delivered the pieces, he gave instructions as to whether they should be dipped in soy sauce or not.
We were given the names of the fish in Japanese and I was not taking notes so I don’t know what several, including this one, were.
This was a rich cut of tuna. On the right is a mound of good, fresh pickled ginger.
I think this is tai, or red snapper.
Akagai, or arc shell clam. Chewy, but flavorful and a nice deviation from fish.
Top quality, luscious toro tuna.
A lightly poached shrimp.
Shirasu, newborn fish of the sardine or anchovy families. Whitebait.
Uni, or sea urchin.
Obviously the fish was very fresh, having come directly from the market next door. The rice was particularly good with a very light seaweed and vinegar flavor and a delicate texture allowing the fish to shine. There were not unusual selections, as one might find in a more prominent sushi restaurant, but that was not expected here. We enjoyed it a lot.
5-2-1 tsukiji Oroshiuri Shijyo Ichigo-kan, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan 104-0044
Telephone: 81 3-3541-9517
To see our extensive photoblogpost on the Tsukiji Fish Market three years before click here.
To see our blogpost on Ryu-zushi from three years ago click here.