Mizutani Sushi..2 Michelin Stars

Again, no photos were allowed here either. Taking us back to pre-historic times, when there was no such thing as taking pictures of your food. Before we start, we learned that you should not book sushi for lunch and dinner on the same day, try to spread your sushi reservations days apart so that the catch of the day diversifies at the fish market. We met a nice physician couple from Florida here, husband was thoracic surgeon and wife was internist. Husband trained at Cedars like me. Was odd speaking English with another couple after 3 days of only hearing Japanese. Interestingly we were speaking Spanish with a chemist from Venezuela at Imamura who gave us insiders tips.

Apart from one or two things, the type of fish here was completely the same as Jiro. In a way it provided a nice contrast. The nice thing about Mizutani is that you get sashimi before the sushi if desired.

Flat fish was again the first to be served as a sashimi this time. Where as we overlooked this at Jiro, due to the rice over powering the fish, as a stand alone it was so chewy and subtle in it’s flavor. We learned that rice is not always the main event like most sushi connoisseur’s tout, but sometimes the rice should be absent or maybe take a back seat for the fish to shine. This leads us to conflicting decision about speaking negatively on Mizutani‘s rice, or just accepting that it is not supposed to be a one to one comparison to Jiro’s rice. Rice here was almost al dente, and not very flavored.
Second up on the sashimi plate was saba (spanish mackrel) nicely fishy, clearly different from the aji (king mackrel) that I tend to favor. Though, it may be too fishy for a novice sushi fan.
Then yellowtail sashimi, very firm, loved how the sashimi was pink, elastic and chewy but not sinewy.
Then they brought us a bowl of 50 little claws of the mantis shrimp, when we asked what it was sushi master Mizutani did lobster dance with his hands. Despite controversy about the chef not being welcoming to foreigner’s, he was at least smiling and attempting communication, which did not happen at Jiro.
Then they brought a sliced cross section piece of squid head wrapped in sea weed, the fishiness of squid combined with the ocean taste of sea weed without rice was a new combination for us. The seaweed here is so much better than the US, all top notch sushi places smoke their seaweed with hot coals, so they are woody and crispy in flavor. Erika loved the seaweed here.
Then abalone, but the biggest we have ever seen, almost like giant triangle pieces, again, soft, spongy and warm served sashimi, unbelievably good.
Now for the sushi..
Squid was a bit tougher here, but Erika loved it. Sauce was noticably absent here apart from when we had the sashimi.
Tuna was great, again went from medium fatty to super fatty O-toro. Not mushy at all, still firm.

Kohada here was the best out of Imamura and Jiro. We realized that maybe certain fish’s flavors really stick out when the rice flavor is more muted. Soft and slippery vs dry and grainy, also unusually sweet for Kohada.

Aji, again, noticed the special green onion flavor, the cut was different here, slightly smaller, less silvery skin.

Cockle shell, again, like we had at Jiro, similar to a mussel, but more octopussy. It was warm, as well, nice slippery, alternative to tako (octopus). Supposedly in the spring and summer, tako is not typically served, but rather in the winter. In the summer months it tends to be more poisonous, we never knew this; again reflects the importance of seasonality here.

Boiled prawn, again, was the best shrimp we’ve ever had in our lives, we were lucky to have this twice in one day. When we asked for seconds at Jiro of this, they said it was sold out.
Ark shell/akagai, aka red clam. Again, one of my favorite pieces, slimy and sweet OMG!!!☺
Followed by the giant clam. I had two of these, was my favorite sushi item. More of a meaty texture than the red clam, less fishy, more bizarre textures in our mouth, barnicles, tubules, frayed little tentacles, like eating a baby alien.
Mantis shrimp. This is the crazy looking lion shrimp, was brown, but sweeter than Jiro’s version, again grainy, almost like eating dark soba. Interesting, we’ve never had this before coming to Japan.
Uni, again, cannot emphasize the difference from the sea urchin in Japan compared to US. Best we’ve ever had in our lives. So Damn sweet, more like little globules. Similarly as good at Jiro, but Jiro had a sour rice. Imamura served their uni on rice with red vinegar, which was also unique.
Baby scallops, sweet again, but this was where some tastier rice would have complimented scallop better.
Unagi, just like Imamura, and Jiro, and suprise suprise it was steamed not grilled. Again, from now on for unagi, I will ask, ‘steamed not grilled please’.
Tomago, egg. Better than Jiro and Imamura. Soft and bready on top and bottom, cold and moist in the middle, almost like Alinea’s cold potato/hot potato concept.
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8 comments on “Mizutani Sushi..2 Michelin Stars

    • wow! Hilarious. I felt bad for the chef as all the diners were English speaking and he had no one to ineract with. I saw for this readon, first hand why they are selective with non-Japanese diners.

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      • We had to make reservations for all our dinners through the hotel concierge. I thought it was amazing at Mizutani that he handed each piece to us. Even though we couldn’t speak, we did interact in that way.

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      • Oh yes, same here. We even stayed in a nicer hotel than we usually do so that the concierge may have more leverage in booking places like Jiro, etc. We were disappointed by how quick the food went there, and we enjoyed Mizutani, much more personalized and what little English and body language we could use, were able to get a few laughs with him. In restrospect, one of the most intimate and memoriable of sushi dinners we had in Tokyo though was Sawada.

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      • Sounds like you are like us, i.e. save money on hotels so we can spend more on food and wine 🙂 The rate we had at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was actually very good, and their concierge was awesome. We only had a couple of days in Tokyo, so could only try 1 sushi place. Already looking forward to a next time there, but no actual plans at this time (unfortunately).

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      • Yes, especially in Japan, that is the way to go. We don’t do any tours, or anything like that. We actually met up with friends we made to Kyoto on our first trip for our first dinner I am about to blog about in Japan on our most recent trip. The one foddie aspect that is the greatest plus for the est coast of California is our Asian American influence, and the crazy variety of Japanese food, which I think has piqued my interest in japan so much. I was impressed at how you learned Italian and have just really dove into Italian culture so deeply. It is so much harder for us Americans. I envy that you can just get in your RV and drive to Alsace for a short trip. My wife and I have contemplated buying a rental property on the border of either Italy and France or France and Switxerland to be centrally located to all the hot food centers in Europe, and then driving from there to where ever we wanted to go. Since we are not planning on children, this is something that is in our 10-15 year plan. I need to learn French again, as I was born in Montreal, and we both speak Spanish, so Italian would be easy to pick up.

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      • When I learned it Italian it wasn’t good for my French (although that could be because I learned it 25 years ago in school), so I refrained from learning too much Spanish as it may get in the way of Italian…
        Although I suppose from an American perspective (being used to long drives) there is a lot within driving distance from somewhere centrally located like Switzerland, I wouldn’t like that as wine is an important part of the experience for me. So I always stay within walking, cycling or taxi distance from where we eat.

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      • For sure, maybe drive somewhere and stay the night, not drive back. We drove from Geneva to Lyon to go to Paul Bocuse and the drive home at night was so scary. I remember looking down and seeing the deepest cliffs I have ever seen in my life as we went through the Alps. Especially after a heavy meal like Bocuse, it is like a death wish to complete this drive at night, even if it is only 2 hours.

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