After a little bit of research online, I happened to find a michelin-starred sushi restaurant within walking distance of our stomping grounds in Futako Tamagawa. Sushi Ichikawa is an intimate sushi restaurant with around 10 seats, the owner/sushi master Ichikawa-san, and just 2 staff. The interior decoration is extremely minimal, drawing the customer’s attention instead to Ichikawa-san’s cutting skills as he transforms a whole block of tuna into a glimmering slice of creamy sushi heaven. The large, stained wooden counter at which you sit also serves as the plates on which almost all of the courses are served. Like Jimbocho Den, and many other fine restaurants in Japan, there is no menu. Just sit back and leave it to the chef.
On a personal note, this was the first time either of us had enjoyed high-quality sushi. We usually eat at kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) and leave happy. Still, at a restaurant like Ichikawa, there really is a noticeable difference in the care put into the preparation of the rice and the freshness of the fish. I have a feeling that this won’t be the last sushi post on this blog.
The course is 18,000 yen, and with two decanters of sake, our total came out to just over 20,000 yen a head.
Let’s eat Sushi Ichikawa!
Before the actual sushi, you get a few appetizers. First was hirame sashimi (Japanese flounder) served with engawa (meat taken from the fin of the fish).
Tachiuo (beltfish) served slightly grilled. The fatty part of this fish is juicy and delicious.
Mirugai (geoduck) served with bamboo in dashi. This final appetizer warmed the body in preparation for the sushi to begin.
Kohada (gizzard shard) – Apparently this should always be the first piece of sushi served. The taste and freshness of this piece is the standard for the rest of the course. If the kohada is no good, get up and walk away from the restaurant!
Akami (standard tuna)
Chu-toro (fatty tuna)
Otoro (super fatty tuna) – Glad to receive two of these, because they are AMAZING with an intense, creamy flavor that honestly melts in your mouth.
Ika (squid) topped with a bit of salt and sudachi citrus fruit. The delicate cutting patterns on the top of the fish really display Ichikawa-san’s precision.
Aji (Japanese horse mackerel) cut in a way that the soy sauce glazed on by Ichikawa-san penetrates every part of the fish.
Uni (sea urchin row) is one of my favorite sushi, and Ichikawa did NOT disappoint. Salty, creamy, and fresh, tasting like it was just plucked from the ocean.
Zuke (soy-sauce marinated tuna)
Hamaguri clam glazed with unagi (eel) sauce. Ichikawa-san asks you to hold out your hand and serves this piece directly from his hand to yours. A nice touch in closing out the sushi course.
The final dish was rice topped with nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch) and wasabi. An incredible finish, though we were a little surprised there was no dessert. Indeed, even some fruit would have been a nice way to end the course on a sweet note. Still, a very pleasant dining experience.
A closing picture of the young owner-chef at work.