Though I do not wish to distract myself from my goal of visiting every Michelin 3-star restaurant, I was so moved by an experience I had in Tokyo that I felt I had to share. A very common tourist destination is the Tsu-jiki fish market, which opens at 5AM (perfect for jet-lagged travellers, who are up anyway). Right nearby is the tiny, family-owned Sushi Dai. As you can see, it gets crazy packed.
PRICE PAID: $35 PP
FINAL SCORE: 8.0/10
The restaurant is literally just across the street from the fish market, and all of their supplies are brought in from said market the day-of.
I give them such a low service rating not necessarily for the in-restaurant experience, but for the 3+ hour wait that everyone has to slog through at 4'o'clock in the morning. This isn't totally their fault, but it certainly makes for a rough start to your day. I got in line around 3:30AM and was served sushi around 6:30AM. Word to the wise- there's really no way around the long line since they open at 5 and the line starts forming at 3, so bring fun people.
Some pretty mediocre green tea that appeared to originate from dry powder and a microwave. 5/10.
Next up was some clearly homemade and exceptionally hearty miso soup. This was one of the better miso soups I have ever had, and it was an especially welcome treat after the long, cold wait outside. 8/10.
Next was a slice of what can only be called egg cake. It was warm, rich, and extremely delicious. A bit like quiche. 9/10.
Woah. At this point, I was really getting excited, because while it wasn't artfully presented, this tuna was mind-blowingly good. A small cut of super-fresh tuna that was plucked from the market across the street that very morning, this was some of the freshest and best fish I've ever seen. 10/10.
The bright colors on this fish were incredible. The chef cautioned me not to use any sauce on this one, which was a great idea because it stood on its own perfectly. I was totally in awe of the rich freshness from this fish. 10/10.
With the totally excessive richness of ground-up caviar, this bite tasted like what I imagine eating a handful of pure, decadent fat tastes like. I'm always a fan of sea urchin, and this one was no disappointment. 8/10.
The colors on this fish were stunning- an interesting, flat cut with a small bundle of ginger and herbs on top. The ginger brought out the freshness in the fish, but it was a tad too strong. 8/10.
The clam was fresh and fibrous, and had an almost earthy taste. 7/10.
This blue fin tuna was marinated to bring out that unbelievable color, but the beautiful cross-striping gave this an amazing appearance to go with the amazing taste. 9/10.
I'm running out of hyperbole, but... this sweet shrimp was truly incredible; strong flavors of papaya and tropical fruit accentuated by a light dousing of soy sauce. 10/10.
With a topping of ginger and herbs, this fish (even though raw) exhibited a smoky, roasted flavor that I loved. 8/10.
These four small rolls include two veggie rolls- cucumber- and two tuna rolls. When I'm in the states, I normally eat rolls like this, and these shattered all expectations for how delicious vegetables, rice, and seaweed paper can be. 8/10.
Only in season for two or three months of the year around mid-Spring, the squid is prepared with squid eggs inside. Though not normally a big squid fan, it was rubbery and fun to eat. 7/10.
For your final course, you get to pick from anything off the Sushi Dai menu. My heartfelt recommendation is the Otoro- fatty tuna. If eating this fish won't convert you to sushi as an art form, then nothing will. This was the most amazing, fresh, rich fish I have ever had in my life, and it was really this individual course that inspired me to break rank from the 3-star restaurants to write about my experience. The extremely reasonable $35 Omakase (chef's choice) menu is worth it for this one bite alone. 10/10.