November 2, 2019

Tokyo sushi day: back at Saito

Pin It

I'm spending about 30 hours in Tokyo on a whirlwind trip.  The main event of the trip would be my lunch date at Sushi Saito (鮨さいとう), which was booked when I visited for the first time in March.  Even though I'm busy as hell at work and have a crazy flying schedule, one does not give up a seat at Saito easily.  So I hopped on the redeye and landed at 5 a.m. this morning.

After catching a few more hours of sleep at my hotel, I dragged my tired ass out of bed and headed out to lunch with The Dining Austrian.

The first thing I noticed as we were getting seated was how tight the space was.  Sure enough, today there were 10 seats at the counter... so the chairs were literally touching each other.  And I counted 5 to 6 foreigners at the main counter...

As usual, we start with a series of otsumami (おつまみ) before getting to the sushi portion.

Salmon roe (イクラ) – as usual, the fragrance of yuzu (柚子) zest is alluring.

Braised octopus (蛸) – very tender as usual and yielded easily to the teeth. Taken with wasabi.

Simmered abalone (鮑) – very, very tender. Taken with a dab of salt.

When asked about dietary preferences, I did not tell Saito-san about my dislike for fish cum. I figured my two companions would inhale it in an instant and would relish the opportunity for a second serving. I was right. Someone inhaled my portion in no time.

Mackerel bozushi (鯖棒寿司) – always love that first hit of acidity from the vinegar rice. The mackerel itself was, as one would expect, very fatty and soft. Absolutely delicious.

Surf clam (北寄貝) – lightly grilled with nori (海苔). Classic springy texture.

Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) – the usual. Cooked with sake. Between visits to the Hong Kong branch as well as Tokyo, I’ve had this a handful of times. Still lovin’ it.

Conger eel shirayaki (穴子白焼き) – interesting to see this. The texture was pretty amazing, as the exterior was certainly crunchy while the whole thing was very springy and bouncy. Good to have the pickled cucumbers on the side.

With the arrival of Japanese yam (長芋), it’s a sign that the nigiri (握り) portion of our meal is about to begin.

Sea bream (鯛) – the stark temperature difference between the shari (シャリ) and neta (ネタ) was immediately apparent. How I have missed this crunchy texture.

Striped jack (縞鰺) – the thickness of the neta was very nice, with a slight bit of crunch but still remained very soft. The vinegar from the shari also delivered nice flavors.

Gizzard shad (小肌) – very nice texture. Not too acidic from the marinade.

Next came the trio of tuna, which I would normally not eat outside of Japan… especially when asked about dietary preferences.

Marinated lean tuna (赤身漬け) – beautiful.

Medium fatty tuna (中トロ) – nicely scored and beautiful to behold. Wonderfully tender.

Fatty tuna (大トロ) – the neta was already half-liquefied before I put it in my mouth.

Bigfin reef squid (アオリイカ) – with salt and a couple of drops of sudachi (酢橘). The scoring today was wider than I expected, but the neta itself remained so soft and tender.

Japanese tiger prawn (車海老) – nice and warm, with a little tomalley.

Horse mackerel (鯵) – so nice. It’s always my favorite piece from Koba-san in Hong Kong, and probably the one piece where Koba-san comes closest to his master.

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) – from Hokkaido, naturally. Almost ice cream level.

Yes, I take pictures of the soup…

Conger eel (穴子) - not as mushy as usual.

Egg (卵) – the texture is as jello-like as ever, although the top seemed a lot more caramelized and burnt today.

Futomaki (太巻き)

Naturally, I brought a bottle of Selosse champagne to share with everyone…

Jacques Selosse Le Bout du Clos, dégorgée à 2 mars 2018 – really nice, mature and smooth, minerality with some savory notes. Definitely tasted like a blanc de noirs.

This was another great meal here.  I am so, so happy to be back here, and even happier that I now have a date for our next rendezvous... and that Hello Kitty would be able to join us!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map