I recently re-visited Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten in Ginza, again stopping by for a (very quick) lunch, and I once again really enjoyed my visit. I won't bore you with a play-by-play, since I've already written about lunch at Jiro before, and things don't exactly change all that much from visit to visit, but I thought I'd provide some additional commentary based on this most recent experience. So, here are 10 semi-random Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten thoughts:
- Price has gone up (again). This time I paid ¥38,700 - no alcohol, no additional pieces. As much as I love Jiro's sushi, I'm starting to wonder if it is worth such a high price.
- Jiro Ono-san was not there (it has been reported that he no longer works at lunch at all anymore). Yoshikazu-san made sushi for me and two others, and a young assistant (tall guy, don't know his name) made sushi for the rest of the customers. The young chef seemed under a lot of pressure. I noticed his hands were shaking as he was making the nigiri. Probably got promoted to making sushi quite recently?
- The noon seating was 100% foreigners, totaling 7 customers (with 3 seats remaining empty). The 12:30 seating was 100% Japanese (and 100% elderly folks) with only 5 or 6 customers. Some shops segregate foreign customers by opening a second counter, and some shops segregate foreign customers by grouping them all into one sitting. It is what it is.
- Total time it took me to consume 19 delicious pieces of sushi: 15 minutes.
- The shari (seasoned sushi rice) remains one of my favorites: so much presence - big bold komesu flavor, good sourness. I still absolutely love it.
- During my last visit, the aji-su was my favorite piece, this time I thought it had been marinated for too long.
- Even though it is not maguro season, the maguro on this day was unreal. The chu-toro was especially delicious. Other neta highlights: the bafun uni, katsuo, awabi, and hamaguri were all fantastic.
- The four American customers sitting to my right seemed pretty new to eating sushi, and were scolded multiple times for bad behavior. No wonder Yoshikazu-san appears to be perpetually grumpy. One lady tried eating nigiri pieces in two bites, and one guy tried putting gari (pickled ginger) on top of the neta. You'd think people would want to learn a little bit about eating sushi before jumping right into the Jiro deep end.
- I managed to engage Yoshikazu-san in conversation. Sure, only a few sentences (chit chat about the merits of bafun uni vs murasaki uni)... but still... it's something. Either my Japanese is improving, or his English is improving. Probably the later.
- A very enjoyable visit, but I probably won't go back for a while, it is just getting too expensive.
Sukiyabashi Jiro Ginza - 4-2-15 Ginza (Tsukamoto Sogyo Bldg. B1F) Chuo, Tokyo