Friday, March 7, 2014

Tokyo. Remembering the two best culinary experiences of my life, in one day.

The flawless fatty tuna at Sushi Dai in the Tsukiji Fish Market.

The two single best culinary/dining experiences of my life at 29 years old happened in one day in Tokyo, Japan.  The first was a sushi breakfast at 8 am in a tiny little place and the second happened 12 hours later in a fine dining restaurant.

The following is a journal entry from 100 Rolls by Blake Noyes during that magically tasteful day in Tokyo.

After a 3am wake-up call and a sip or two of some Japanese whiskey we set off for the Tsukiji fish market. Somehow we wandered in the right direction and found ourselves in a huge, dark complex of warehouses with every sea creature under the sun in what seemed to be millions of boxes and crates. Total sensory overload. Gasoline, cigarettes and raw fish. Squeaking styrofoam and screaming fishermen. Dismissive hand gestures and dangerous hand carts. 

The sights, sounds and smells were unlike anything we’d ever seen.

And the flavors? Well after being politely “excused” from the grounds by various security officers we wound up in a line about 20 people deep for Sushi Dai - an 11-seat sushi bar renowned for their omakase menu featuring the chefs favorites from that night/morning’s catch.

Still only 5am mind you. 1 hour goes by. Then 2. Then 3. Luckily we had run into some friends from NYC (shout out to chefs Ben and Sara) to help pass the time. By 8:30 we were crammed into this hole-in-the-wall joint tucked away in an alley and had the best sushi meal of our collective lives. We all agreed. Quite the breakfast.

Here are some shots of the sushi served up by the very talented, comedian sushi chefs

After a pitstop at the hotel it was off to the Ryogoku Kokugikan Grand Tournament to see some classic sumo wrestling matches. Again, quite the sight to see.

Then it was the red light district by Shinjuku Station...

We finished the night off at Kyubey, another small sushi bar, this time in the Ginza neighborhood. Here the service and location were much more polished but once more, another stellar meal. It may be a bitter-sweet thing that happened, but it made for the second best sushi meal of our lives. And they happened on the same day, not even 13 hours apart from one another. Many thanks to Chef Takeshima and his crew.

We were ambitious with our plans for the club scene, but it was probably for the best that we called it a night after that 21 hour marathon.

Here we are… Nico, Blake, and James with Chef and server at Kyubey.

Cheers from the 333, #AsianTouringClub2013

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