Review: Ichiyanagi

7 March 2017

Now being a bit of a veteran of Tokyo dining, I rely far more on the excellent Tabelog than other guides, including Michelin. I always found the latter wanting, especially after that terrible “1-Star” experience at Ryo last night. So for this trip I chose a few highly-ranked sushi places. And for lunch today? Ichiyanagi.

I walked out to the tail end of Ginza and was led into the sushi bar. I always found it strange how they like to crowd people together when there are open spaces at the sushi bar. This was particularly bad as the space between seats is even narrower than the Tokyo usual. Plus, the sushi bar is pretty large for a high-end place, but let’s see how it goes.

I chilled out and ordered some sake and soon we began with some noresore (baby eel).

01-noresore

Excellent start, tho it was hard to eat with chopsticks for someone as chopstick-fatigued as I am! As I was finishing it off, a slice of tai (red snapper).

02-tai

Nice, very clean tasting. Then some hotaru-ika (firefly squid)…

03-hotaru-ika

Again, very nice, love these. Then another sashimi…

04-baby tuna

Oh my, this baby tuna is quite nice. I like this mixing-it-up style. And next up was something handed to me…

05-tairagai

Tairagai (penshell clam), which is often served like this. Excellent meaty stuff. Nice!

06-tako

Then we have some marinated tako (octopus), which was very flavourful and soft — tho not too soft, which is perfect. So far so good! Then a real treat…

07-ankimo

Another good serving of ankimo (monkfish liver), which I love. Not quite as nice as from Masuda the other day, but darn good. Then we have some fugu no shirako.

08-shirako

Already bursting at the seam, this was burning hot as it should be. Very nice. Then some grilled hirame (flounder).

09-hirame

Very nice, with a boatload of daikon under the fish. Very nice. Then next up was another wee treat, awabi (abalone).

10-awabi & himo

Not just the abalone, which was very tasty, but also the himo (liver). Very tasty stuff. So far rather impressed. Then another cooked item, sawara (Spanish mackerel).

11-sawara

Oh this was fantastic, really oily and nice! Then a wee palate cleanser of seaweed…

12-seaweed

Now we shift into the sushi segment. First up, hirame (flounder) again…

13-hirame

Uh…I really had trouble enjoying the fish because the rice was STEAMING HOT. Huh? Now I understand different sushi chefs have different takes on rice temperature, but this was a bit extreme for me. It was actually a distraction. Did something go awry or was this the intention? Next up was kinmedai (goldeneye snapper).

14-kinmedai

Good fish, but again the rice was very hot — tho cooling off a little. Not as hot as before…geez, are they just running slow and cooked the rice quickly? This was disappointing!

We moved to the tuna segment and first up was some tsuke — marinated lean tuna.

15-tsuke

Nice, and finally the rice seemed to have cooled enough not to be a distraction. Still noticeably warm, but now not bugging me. Then the chu-toro.

16-chu-toro

This was fabulous, lovely stuff, full of oily goodness. Then a bit unexpected for lunch, o-toro.

17-o-toro

Excellent, but I don’t know why these days I so much prefer the chu-toro over the o-toro. In any case, an excellent trio there. Next up, sumi-ika (cuttlefish).

18-sumi-ika

Uh, what happened? There was WAY TOO MUCH SALT dumped onto this thing, was almost difficult to eat. This is a messy lunch! For all the nice bits, there are some inexplicable stuff for a high-class sushiya… Then kohada (gizzard shad).

19-kohada

Far better than usual for a fish I don’t really care for. Then next, aji (horse mackerel).

20-aji

Not bad, through the flavouring really was overwhelming. Again, a bit sloppy sushi-making here. Disappointing. Then we got some uni.

21-uni

Tasty as usual, and it held up well. Then we shifted to some kurumaebi (prawn).

22-kurumaebi

A bit fibrous to be honest, perhaps wee overcooked. In any case, I knew we were starting to wind down with the next item, hamaguri (clam).

23-hamaguri

Glazed with a bit of sauce, not bad. Then the anago.

24-anago

Again glazed with a lot of sauce, pretty good. Then we have some concluding tamago.

25-tamago

I was a bitdisappointed by this lunch. Some real highlights here, from the baby eel to the chu-toro. But the hot rice thing was really odd, as was the messy prep on some pieces like the cuttlefish. Just seems sloppy for a top sushiya to be honest. I doubt I’ll be back, the competition is too great out there. This was not that great in sushi-making, nor was it very comfortable. Next…

Ichiyanagi [一柳]
1-5-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo, Japan

* Stupid me I forgot to wash my hands and it reeked of fish as I trekked out to Tama. Lucky I got caught in a downpour so that rinsed it away…as well as wiping out badly on some ultra-slick marble that left me with a seemingly random set of bruises on my lower body…

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2 thoughts on “Review: Ichiyanagi

  1. Pingback: Review: Umi | melhuang1972

  2. Pingback: Review: Miyaba | melhuang1972

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