December 5, 2018

Japan 2018 day 5: an evening in Aoyama

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I needed one high-end sushi meal on this trip, and had originally been wanting to visit a 3-star long on my checklist.  When the Palate Hotel concierge surprisingly failed to come through, I asked for suggestions from the foodie community, and based on my past experience, Sushi Masuda (鮨ます田) was recommended to me.

Unfortunately as the reservation was made rather late, we were not able to get ourselves seated at the counter.  We had to make do with table seating in a private room on the side.  This would be my first experience in eating in a top sushiya without seeing the chef put the pieces in front of me.

As was the case at lunch today, staff here paid a great deal of attention to detail... and noticed that Hello Kitty was left-handed even before they brought us the sake.

Monkfish liver and blowfish (鮟肝と河豚) - the monkfish liver was very rich in flavor, and I was quite surprised when the chef asked us to wrap the thick and chewy slices of blowfish around the silky monkfish liver, along with spicy grated radish.

Female snow crab (せいこ蟹) - this would be my third straight meal of having this, but I ain't complainin'!  Instead of shredded crab meat, we have meat from the legs together with the ovaries (内子) and the eggs (外子).

Very delicious, but curiously topped with some creamy Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) on top.

Tilefish simmered in sake (甘鯛の酒煮) - very tender as expected, and came with some minced spring onion on top that was kinda salty.

Pomfret (真名鰹) - nice and juicy.

Mullet roe wrapped in mochi (餅とカラスミ) - kinda interesting to have a piece of cured mullet roe (カラスミ) sandwiched between two thin slices of mochi, then wrapped in nori (のり).

Tuna roll (鮪巻き) - the tuna looked a lot more fatty than just lean tuna... and in fact tasted like it was chopped up, with a very soft texture.  The vinegar in the shari (シャリ) was very pronounced.

Marinated squid (烏賊の塩辛) - very rich and heavy in terms of flavor...

Thread-sail filefish (皮剥) - the neta (ネタ) was thick and a little chewy, but that slice of fish liver on top was very, very nice...

Squid (墨烏賊) - just loved the thickness of the cut and the texture.

Lean tuna (あかみ) - needless to say this was very, very soft.

Medium-fatty tuna (中トロ) - of course the neta (ネタ) on this one melted in the mouth... The temperature of the shari (シャリ) was still nice and warm.

Fatty tuna (大トロ) - this could have been a slice of beef for all I know... Just look at that marbling.

Gizzard shad (小鰭) - nice acidity here.

Japanese tiger prawn (車海老) - served with some tomalley.  Very sweet.

Clam shell (蛤) - clearly a few levels below what I remembered enjoying at Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし 次郎).

Japanese halfbeak (細魚) - surprisingly big, with nice crunchy texture.

Yellowtail (鰤) - soooo, soooo fatty and melt-in-the-mouth.

Salmon roe (イクラ) - one of my favorites since childhood.

Conger eel (穴子)

Egg (玉子焼き) - very sweet and spongy.

I decided to order a bottle from one of my favorite sake breweries...

Kokuryu Daiginjo Ryu (黒龍 大吟醸 龍), 30BY - much more dry than expected upfront, but also more concentration than expected.

I gotta say that I was pretty happy with the experience tonight, despite not sitting at the counter.  The shari (シャリ) came to our table at a good temperature, and I did appreciate the stronger dose of rice vinegar.  I'm glad we were able to come here.

After dinner, we accompanied My Birdbrain Cousin to the Mega Don Quijote (MEGAドン・キホーテ) flagship store in Shibuya.  For some reason, there was a statue of Hachiko (ハチ公) inside the store... but I guess they're not the only retailer to do this.  I managed to pick up a few different boxes of Kit Kat while the ladies did their shopping for cosmetics and stuff.

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