Sushi Made in Heaven (9.5)

Chef Chiba Hirobumi-san (千葉博文さん) focuses intently on the fish and all kinds of ingredients and condiments before him and talks with passion and warmth about where all the fish we are eating have come from and the point of the seasonal cycle we are at for each of them. It took us an hour and a half from the first course through to dessert, an engaging and fine adventure into deep sea umami and complex flavors—mostly sweet tastes with mildly savoury and citrusy notes. Although there were inevitably one or two pieces of fish that weren’t my favourite kind, the fineness of each and every piece could not be argued, the most memorable being 甘鯛 (tilefish), 鯵 (Japanese jack mackerel), イカ (squid), 穴子 (eel) and 赤身のづけ (marinated tuna). As I left the restaurant and stepped back onto Stanley Street in Central I felt as though I had just stepped out of Doraemon’s どこでもドア (Anywhere Door), previously having been transported to a quiet sushiya in an alley in Tokyo. It was a fine day after two consecutive days of zero newly diagnosed individuals (without travel history). Life seemed good. 

In chronological order, we had (all nigirizushi unless stated otherwise):

– 梅の茶碗蒸し steamed egg with plum
– 甘鯛の炙り刺身*** seared tilefish sashimi
– 赤貝の刺身 ark shell sashimi
– ホシガレイの刺身 starry flounder sashimi
– 金目鯛 red snapper
– かすご鯛(小鯛)young sea bream
– イカ*** squid
– イカ*** squid
– 鯵*** Japanese horse mackerel
– 赤身のづけ*** marinated tuna
– 中トロ*** medium fatty tuna
– ハマグリ** (?) large clam
– イクラ salmon roe
– 赤ウニ*** sea urchin
– 玉子 grilled egg
– 穴子*** eel 
– マグロの巻き寿司 tuna sushi roll
– みそ汁 miso soup
– 黒ごまプリン sesame pudding 

While every course was as fine as one could expect, it was the eel and Japanese horse mackerel that were assuredly the best I have ever had. The eel had transcended its humble roots into something of a silky and fluffy cloud of pure goodness. I did not know that eel could taste like this.

Let me add that service was impeccable all around. The waiting staff were beyond courteous and thoughtful, and while I had some questions relating to a certain fish I had eaten in the past (was it ヒラマサ or カンパチ, they still wondered), both Chiba-san and the server were eager to solve my puzzle. 

What a pleasure.

Sushi Kohaku 鮨琥珀
10 Stanley Street, Central
$$$$, Japanese, Sushiya