Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hazu Sushi, Mitsukoshimae (寿司筈、三越前)

Sometimes the most tenuous things link us together in this beautiful dance called life. For instance, today I ended up at a restaurant just because there was empty space on my map and I thought it would be fun to explore a little. If the food had been better I could talk about serendipity, but it was just OK.

For several weeks I've been craving sushi. I know, I know, Japan is supposed to have the stuff just lying around in the street, preserved with a little vinegar so it doesn't go bad. But if you don't seek it out you won't get any, and it never seemed like the right time. Well, today I made this 15-minute walk to Mitsukoshimae (sorta two blocks north of Nihonbashi), and out jumped a nice-looking sushi place. Having to take a semi-private elevator to the third floor only increased the appeal.

Can sushi restaurants be better for dinner than lunch? I didn't think so before, but now I'm wondering. Maybe it depends on level? I've seen comments that you can go to top sushi places for lunch and it's better because 'the fish is fresher' (playing off the fetish that says 'the master personally selected the fish at Tokyo's Tsukiji Market just this morning'). I always took this as rote until today when I realized that the Hazus were clearly serving last night's fish for lunch. There's nothing wrong with that, it tasted fine, but it made me wonder - if you were paying $100 or $200 for your sushi lunch, would they still do it? Hazu is a decent place with somewhat upscale aspirations, so I think they must be serving fresh fish at dinner.

For unknown reasons, I gravitated to the special mixed Lunch B - I think 8 nigiri, two thin rolls and some egg, Y1890. There are basic 8-piece sets for around Y1200, but with less stuff. This one included a big 'ol sea urchin battleship as well as a crablike bit that shocked me by being, well, crab. In addition there were two pieces of tuna which were both poor quality, some white fish that was decent, a scallop that was big and plump but not that fresh, a katsuo starter and a bowl of soup.

The counter was nice, the room was good, the waitresses wear kimono, and the assistant chef looked to be about 17...this was a few percent overpriced, so I wouldn't run screaming back. And I still want some good sushi.

As a special bonus, on the walk there I got to look at the beautiful old Bank of Japan buildings, learn that they have a Museum of Currency in one, and receive the evil eye from a security guard in a bulletproof vest!

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