Monday, June 29, 2015

Sushi Harutaka, Tokyo

Another life-changing sushi meal (apart from the glimpse of sushi perfection at Sushi Tokami during my last trip to Tokyo) was at Sushi Harutaka, which was one of the best, most consistently stellar sushi meals I have eaten in my life. Everything was delicious and so good.

Harutaka himself was a former disciple of Jiro Ono of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame. And recently it has climbed to No. 2 on Tabelog. It has also been awarded two Michelin stars. As such, it was really hard to book - a friend in Tokyo helped us to get a reservation by making a phone call, and even then we had to settle for a 9.30pm seating.

But who cares, when the sushi is that good!

We started off with karei (flounder) - a very delicate fish, but yet with good flavour. It paired perfectly well with the vinegared rice that they use over here at Harutaka - I think the rice at Harutaka has to be my favourite over all that I've eaten thus far, since it is really vinegarish and really pairs well with the fish. (8/10)
Next up, we had aorika (big squid), which was very well prepared: thin cuts are inserted to increase tenderness. Clean and tasty, pairing well with the vinegared rice. (8/10)
Katsugo - young sea bream. Smoked and cured. Again, delicate flavour, but perfectly balanced. (8/10)

Akami (lean maguro) - rich, deep flavour, clean finish, pairing well with the heavily vinegared shari. (8.5/10)

Chutoro fared even better - strong tuna flavour, clean, deep flavours; rich. Not as good as autumn tuna but still pretty solid. We ordered a second at the end. (8.75/10)

Otoro - flavourful, fragrant fish oils, buttery fats and a clean finish. Again, lovely combination of shari and neta.(8.75/10)

Kohada was very multi-dimensional and complex: slightly sweet, very clean, fragrant. Excellent piece. (8.5/10)

Torigai was also very good - a strong yet clean seafood flavour which had a natural sweetness; nice long finish. Very tender. (8.25/10)

Aji - clean and tasty. Rather light. 8/10

A scallop-like kobashira, this was really good, tasting of the natural sweetness of the sea. (8.5/10)

Kuruma ebi - one of the best I've eaten: strong prawn flavour, sweet, tender and rich with a long finish. (8.75/10)

Don't quite remember the name of the next piece - but it was delicious anyhow.

Akagai - done very well. Crunchy, robust seafood clam flavour, sweet yet subtle. Yummy. (8.25/10)

Esaki - lightly torched, and seasoned with a tad of citrus and salt. There's a very flavourful combination of fish oils, with the salty and tangy. It's a fruit that was smaller than yuzu, apparently. (8.5/10)

One of the highlights from my meal at Harutaka was this Murasaki uni from Aomori. Very flavourul - sweet, clean, floral, with the briny taste of the sea that is so characteristic of uni. This was an extremely large piece, as the photos testify. A standout from my meal at Harutaka, and well deserving of a 9.25/10.

The bonito was another standout - lightly smoked bonito, with the smokiness of the bonito carrying through while the fish itself subtly sweet. 8.75/10
Hamaguri - with a slightly sweet sauce. Crunchy, good flavours. 8.25/10

If you've watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you'd know that the apprentice took a really long time to make a great Tamago. Here, the tamago is truly mastered, and it shows - soft, sweet, rich, eggy, and had a custard texture with a slight brown crust providing a delightful contrast. Quite masterful. I ordered seconds. (9/10)

Overall, if there's one sushi ya that everyone should go to - Harutaka would be that sort of place. It's very very consistent, it's consistently delicious and stellar, and there are enough standouts through the rest of the meal to make your sushi experience awesome. 

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