Tokyo: 1 Michelin-starred Sushi Kanesaka

Sushi Kanesaka holds a special place in my heart, as it is the first sushi omakase I’ve had in Japan. I’m no sushi connoisseur—far from it. Here in Singapore, a sushi omakase can run to up to SGD350++ for the smallest size because most of the seafood here is flown in, so it’s worth it to get your fill in Japan. Whenever I get a craving, though, I settle mostly with Kuriya, Itacho, Ichiban Boshi’s, or Genki because apart from them being the more affordable choices, they taste good (and I love salmon aburi with mentaiko mayonnaise!).

However, every once in a while, I don’t mind splurging a bit at Ryoshi Sushi at Liang Court, where they also serve sushi conveyer-style. Despite a step up in terms of price, you can really tell the difference—the fish seems to have a cleaner, meatier bite, and the precision given to each cut is more flawless.

Also, a fun fact! I didn’t enjoy raw fish until I was in my early 20s—except for salmon sashimi. I hated the texture of raw fish my palate (especially uni!), and I would always form up a mental image of the fish’s face in my mouth. But all it took was an omakase at Sensei Sushi and a few conversations with Chef Bruce Ricketts back when I was a food editor in Manila—he helped me ease into sashimi, starting off with a sliver of yellowfin tuna. The rest is history.

Andre and I dined in Michelin-starred Sushi Kanesaka upon arriving in Tokyo, before heading to Hakone.

Sushi Kanesaka focuses largely on Edomae sushi techniques, which is the common way we enjoy sushi—rice seasoned with vinegar is combined with raw fish, and served in bite-size portions. This can be blatantly seen in Sushi Kanesaka, as the ingredients are treated with a lot of respect, and there is a lot of finesse in the preparation. Freshness is always the priority, but I personally liked how there was a mature playfulness to some of the sushi that was served to us.

Wakame, Radish, Ponzu, and Sesame Seeds to start off the omakase.
Flounder preserved in Kelp
Engawa (Flounder’s Edge) — really enjoyed this one. It’s a textural experience.
Red Snapper
Maguro (Lean Tuna)
Chūtoro (Medium Fatty Tuna Belly) — would I dare say this is the best tuna sashimi I’ve had in my life? Yes, it is.
Otoro (Fatty Tuna Belly) — so much fatty goodness in one bite; it slips, slides, then melts on your tongue
Ika (squid) — the texture is both soft and slightly waxy (in a good way) yet buttery, a perfect tender, bouncy bite. The salt and wasabi are beautiful together. An unexpected favourite of mine as I don’t enjoy ika sushi as much.
Prawn — very, very sweet.
Sweet Shrimp — sorry, still not a fan. I can’t get over the sliminess and muskiness of it.

Gizzard Shad
Sayori (Needlefish) — very elegantly served with Shiso (Perilla) Leaves underneath.
Aji (Horse Mackerel)–loved this a lot. A tiny dollop of Shiso (Perilla) Leaf and a Green Onion paste on top, as well as ginger beneath the fish, which cut through the mackerel’s smokiness.
Akagai (Japanese Ark Shell or Red Clam)
Uni (Sea Urchin) Gunkan
Unagi (Sea Eel)
Tamago (Egg) — delicately prepared to achieve an extremely pillowy and custard-like texture.
It collapsed in my mouth just like pudding.
Kampyo Maki (Maki Sushi Rolls with Dried White Gourd) — a nice, clean ending to the meal.

Like I said, I’m no sushi connoisseur, but this sushi experience really blew my mind. Each bite was a beautiful play of textures, flavours, and you could really tell that this is a meal prepared with high principles. The fish was incredibly fresh. None of the slimy flavours that would usually throw me off. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to stomach the “Large” omakase, so I settled with a “Medium”. But after my first bite, I asked the chef if he could change mine to “Large” as well.

And boy, am I so glad that I did.

SUSHI KANESAKA
8-10-3 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo Prefecture (Ginza, Tokyo Nihonbashi
Phone: +81 3-5568-4411
Website: http://www.sushi-kanesaka.com/
Total Damage: ¥15,000 for lunch (around SGD 186 or PHP 7,300 per head)

(Our meal was paid for ourselves .)

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