Sushi School - Where should I begin?

Oh, you smoothie you…
Okay, I will do that.

I think Hamasaku was mentioned in the $55 omakase article. So it’s actually good?

Here are my thoughts on Hamasaku

I am looking at your thread and thinking “no fucking way is this a $55 meal…” lol

I realize you area an all out baller, but it would nice if someone actually reported on what the $55 omakase is like there in comparison.

From the Eater’s article:

Given how good the $160 option looks, it seems like a nice place to try a $55 option for a noob potentially, as the other baller places don’t even offer $55 type options as far as I can tell (well, if you count lunch I guess Shunji does of course, but hopefully my point isn’t lost).

I believe the “superomakase” at Mori will be closer to $180-200 range, however it is worth it.
For me his edomae style sushi is second to none!
If you do go to Mori, these days be sure to ask to sit in front of Maru-san, otherwise it is not worth your time and money.
In the old days I actually used to prefer Yoshi-san, but sadly Yoshi is now dishing out $300pp omakase at Ginza Onodera.


I started with the $55 14 piece omakase at hamasaku and ended with the OOE omakase. Getting served two pieces at a time was weird but it wasn’t bad for the price. But shunji’s $40 12 piece lunch special is better and cheaper.


We had a less than pleasant weird experience at Hamasaku a few months ago.
I have been to dinner there before a couple of times in 2016 and enjoyed Yoya-san’s preparations.
Then three of us make a reservation a few days in advance and ask to sit in front of Yoya for 8:30 pm.
Around 5:30 that same day I call and confirm and reiterate that I would like to sit in front of Yoya.
At 8:30 pm we walk in and they tell me that Yoya is not there that day.
We sit down anyway, and another guy says he is Yoya’s 2nd in command and he will give us his omakase.
It was hands down the worst sushi omakase experience. The guy had no idea. Everything came out over-seasoned with heavy sauces, wrong texture, and inferior knife-work. And it ended it up being $160pp.

me? IIRC you’ve observed how easy it was for you to…(my word not yours) work the masculine gender.

Okay, I see variations of this complaint on FTC. Is there anything I should be looking for? Or can you critique the knife-work on my upcoming reports?

Edit: Anyone feel free to chime in too :slight_smile:.

Sushi Gen does (did?) it this way too.

On a related note, anyone know how Sushi Gen is these days?

Same as always but even more crowded.

it’s kinda like defining obscenity - but you know it when you see it.

this is not helpful, so i will try and mention some details. actually, a lot of things taste better when it’s cut properly, which starts with having one’s knife properly sharpened (BTW, japanese knives are left handed/right handed and are single beveled on the side of the blade as the outside of the hand wielding it; a RH blade with the tip pointing away from you will be beveled on the RH side. this facilitates very precise thin cuts.); you should never see an itamae draw a blade back and forth whe cutting fish, nor should you see one push the blade (for power). each cut should be performed in a single drawing motion (towards - for precision) with no wasted motion. pieces should be of uniform thickness/thinness, with the cut edge being pristine in appearance (due to the left side of the blade remaining completely vertical/straight) . it’s almost hypnotic to watch skilled knife work.

if you get there early enough for dinner, watch an itamae prepare daikon. those ‘threads’ they use as a garnish are cut by hand. first they trim the daikon into a cylindrical shape, and then shave that cylinder into a single long sheet like bathroom tissue. then that sheet is sliced/folded and cut into precise threads.


Generally, knifework when it comes to cutting fish is about creating a precise and clean cut (no jagged edges, avoid unwanted portions or bones); creating the proper thickness so you have the right proportions and drape for the right mouthfeel; efficiency of motion; and presentation. There are different prescribed cuts for different types of fish.

Specific cuts depend on the kind of fish, and to varying degrees, the area, its fat content, age, and even provenance. Eg lean tuna has a different cut than medium fatty or fatty tuna - and there are variations on preparation for the latter. Spear squid often has a different cut than cuttlefish. Tuna from Boston may indeed have a different cut than tuna from Aomori. Also note that it’s not necessarily super strict - there is room for play, but of course you can observe a different cut and therefore shape between something like an aged lean tuna and raw octopus.

I was once eating with a friend at an otherwise not bad sushi restaurant, but the knifework was off: lean tuna was cut like how certain cephalopods should be and the octopus was cut like how lean tuna should.


Not really a related question, but… I asked one of the chefs at a neighborhood joint I like what he thought was good. He responded, “Toro.” I accepted, and I got a piece which I thought was delicious except… there was some gristle. Should any piece of sushi ever have gristle?

Generally… NO. Unless you’ve got some master (see last pic) behind the counter…


Thanks for the info and link. I couldn’t tell by looking at the piece that it had gristle; it was only upon eating it. Wonder if that’s why the chef (who was fairly elderly) didn’t cut through the gristle. Too bad, since it was a really yummy piece of fish otherwise…

Basically anything that detracts from you enjoying the food fully (examples being chewy gristle, piece cut too big/too small, poor aesthetic presentation, etc.) can be considered poor knife work.


Got a rec for Mako Sushi in Little Tokyo and that it is well liked by local Japanese. Was told it was traditional but Chef Mako-san is very friendly

Added Takao and Uchigo to the list too.

Kinda wanna try Hiko since I never got to try Nozawa. I hear they are good friends with similar attitudes. I don’t mind the warm rice.

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Generally no. However, the one exception is a certain cut of very fatty toro. It’s a stylistic thing - the “dandara” or some of which is sometimes by the name “snake belly” actually has some of the sinews spiraled around. It’s not an inferior cut per se, but it is different than the “snowfall covered” toro. Some chefs choose to break it down differently, though, to eliminate sinew (and instead sometimes sautee the “suji” and serv with rice (more like eating the scraps). There are 7+ cuts of tuna toro.

“Dandara” when done right (could be scoring the sinews) is very good, but that is the exception to when sinew is ok. If you get the actual “snake belly” or “sandscraping” very bottom portion of the belly, that is a very prized piece. Not all dandara toro is that, though, and regardless, if a sushi chef serves you otoro with sinew, it shouldn’t have gristle that is chewy or gets stuck in between your teeth.


toro, depending on where it’s from, can have muscle striations in it. i have seen it served sliced across those striations (some actually prefer it that way) and i have seen it served sliced so as to remove the striations. this take more effort and i have seen it priced accordingly. those striations can be grilled and served separately as an appetizer.

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