If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain you would have seen this sushiya in one of his episodes of Parts Unknown: Tokyo,where he visits Sushiko with renowned NY sushi chef Masa Takayama, who incidentally is an alumnus and close friend of the current fourth generation head chef Mamoru Sugiyama.
Sushiko is one of the oldest sushi-yas in existence- some 130 years old to be exact. They have somehow kept most of their recipes essentially the same all the way to 2017- withstanding the tide of time and still being “relevant” to the sushi aficionados of today. Of course, there are some modern innovations used today that weren’t used 130 years ago such as….refrigeration :).
Sushiko has somewhat long opening hours and is easy to book or even walk-in during the less busy hours. I’ve had 2 meals here, both outside the typical lunch hours of 1200-1430 and both times were walk-ins. They do have English-speaking staff so the language barrier is not so insurmountable here.
On to the sushi, seeing that I came here after a meal at Tsuruhachi Bunten (pardon the gluttony), I decided to keep it to only nigiri– not a bad choice at all…
What I had:
Shima-Aji no Kawa*
* Denotes excellent pieces, ** denotes best piece
Quality: 3.5/5 (Nigiri Only)
Cost Performance: 2.5/5 (for lunch)
Overall a very good meal, I really enjoyed the tamagoyaki which is served castella cake style, supremely moist and flavourful; the taste is still vividly embedded in my memory! Kohada had a very nice acidic kick that did not overwhelm the palate, and Katsuo had surprising depth of flavour. Nice seasonal & unique items like the grilled, crispy skin of the striped jack and Taizagani served mixed with its innards helped to bring the experience to a whole new level.
I was served by Hirano-san, a long-time veteran chef of Sushiko, who reminded me of my “Encik” or Warrant Officer (“Sergeant Major” for those in the US) during my sergeant trainee course in the Army. Somehow I couldn’t get it out of my head and nearly blurted out “yes, Encik!” when he passed me my first sushi. Hirano-san turns out to be an extremely nice guy and is also a repository of knowledge when it comes to Edomae Sushi (and is much less stern than my Warrant Officer-whew!).
Sushiko turns out to be an extremely comfortable dining experience- the chefs and the staff there really make a concerted effort to make ALL diners feel at home. More than just the taste factor, the warm and unpretentious service here makes me want to return every time I’m in Tokyo despite the cost performance here being on the low side (read: a little expensive, but in line with Ginza sushiya pricing)
I would definitely recommend this place as an entry point into the “high-end” Tokyo sushi scene.
Ginza Sushiko Honten (銀座寿司幸本店)