Previously published on February 22, 2106.
The most devastating part about losing a year of my posts were all my posts on Osaka and Tokyo. I managed to recover this one so I will start reconstruction with this which also happened to be one of my favorite sushi places in Tokyo.
I highly recommend anyone going to Tokyo whether for the first time or repeatedly to eat at a high end sushi restaurant at least once. There’s an ocean of difference from the sushi you will eat in ANY restaurant in Manila or even those restaurants in Tsukiji market with hour long queues. I thought it was because these restaurants get the choices cuts of fish. Yes they do but the chefs also do something more to sushi than just slice the fish well.
Sushi Iwa is well known for having one of the cheapest sushi lunch sets, which starts at ¥5,000 for 10 pieces, for a Michelin starred restaurant so this is a good place for one to have a first great sushi experience.
Just like most high end sushi places in Tokyo there were only a few seats at the bar counter where you can watch the chef wield his knife skills. Sushi Iwa also has an annex restaurant nearby.
I love baby faced Chef Tsunoda (37 yrs.) because he speaks excellent English, is patient at explaining and repeating what I ate so I could take notes and is very funny. He also shared a few anecdotes on training as a sushi chef. It took 10 years of training before he was allowed to touch the shari or sushi rice. Did you know that the sushi rice is the most important part of the sushi? Each chef has their own recipe, using their own choice of rice and type of vinegar. Chef Tsunoda practiced in those carousel sushi places until he was allowed to make sushi rice on his own.
We started our meal with wakame (seaweed) salad.
Each piece was the utmost freshness.
The Spanish mackerel tasted so good like it was cooked fish.
In case you’re wondering what a sushi apprentice does during their long training look at the picture below. This sushi was made of an average of 20 pieces of baby shrimp which an apprentice (see first picture above) peeled by hand. The baby shrimp were incredibly sweet!
The chef marinated the maguro (tuna) briefly in a soy mixture then blotted it on paper towels.
Do you see how little sushi rice there is under the fish not like in Manila where you get full with all the rice.
Usually hotate or scallop is served raw but this time the chef cooked it in scallop broth for a long time. Yum!
This is bonito fish the same fish used to make bonito flakes.
I was surprised with this perfectly grilled squid stuffed with sticky rice. It was a nice break from sushi.
You would think the chef was slicing a piece of beef. Just look at all the marbling of the fattiest part of the tuna.
The melt-in-your-mouth otoro was the highlight of my meal.
In Manila unagi (freshwater eel) is what is served most in Japanese restaurants. This was my first time to try anago (saltwater eel) and I liked how tender and more delicate the meat was.
I was already so full when the chef started making these rolls.
For dessert it was tamago unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before. Instead of the usual omelet taste this ultra smooth cube tasted like a sweet custard. Each chef has their own way of making this too.
Our 13 piece sushi set came out to ¥8,640 each or P3,560 or US$77. A great deal if you ask me and oh so delicious.
8-5-25 Ginza, Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo Prefecture
telephone: +81 3-3572-0955 (reservations needed)