Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Shutoku 秀徳

I first read about Shutoku 秀徳 from Mona's blog (truly a fantastic read especially if you're a Tokyophile), and this was backed up by a recommendation from a very well-esteemed member of Chowhound. We were in Tsukiji market and wanted to try a nice restaurant in the market. Having had my fair share of Sushi Daiwas and queuing in lines, I suggested trying Shutoku for the experience - who knows, it just might be awesome.

We peered our head into the door and found that the place was full, but the proprietor told us that some of the guests were already finishing and that it was possible to come back in half an hour's time for lunch. Thank God - we scutted off to have a average kaisen don at the restaurant around the corner (I didn't even bother with the name, it didn't look popular) and came back half an hour later to be ushered to the counter seats of a sushi bar as we watched the action unfold.

The younger chef spoke relatively good English and managed some conversation with us, albeit that he was serving some other guests. We were served by an older chef, who spoke minimal English.

The older chef (photo above) looked a true shokuhin though - he was just quick and meticulous.

The first course we had was sawada nigiri (Spanish mackerel) with sea salt. This was good, clean, rich tasting, and flavourful. 

Next up - the hotate, again with sea salt. Sweet.

The tamago was not bad, although it's the savoury kind.

Next up - "hata", which had a delicate flavour and a chewy texture.

The akami was next - the tuna was very good, very soft, with a deep rich iron flavour. Excellent. Apparently the tuna's from Canada.

Bafun uni was next - again, topped with sea salt (the proprietor here seems to love his sea salt. Maldon, he boldly proclaimed). You have a kick from the sea salt, and then the richness and intensity of the sea urchin with a briny aftertaste. 

Next up, the chutoro was even more flavourful, with rich and sweet fish oils, and a soft texture. This was great.

Ika - soft, tender. I mean, it's just squid.

Ebi, with salt and yuzu. This didn't really work that well for me though, since the yuzu overpowered everything.

The otoro was great - rich, flavourful, sweet, clean, and soft - very good, strong flavours.

The anago, again with sea salt, was also done very well; flavourful and soft, very good. 

We ended up with an ikura hand-roll.

The chef, Masaya-san, is a really charming and friendly sushi chef who speaks good English as well. The poster on the left of the screen can be generally translated as - in one grip, you infuse your entire soul. One thing I forgot to mention was that the shari is made with akazu vinegar but it's balanced well such that it doesn't overwhelm the neta in any way. Masaya-San inquired whether there were many restaurants in Singapore which used akazu vinegar and I told him that I wasn't aware of any (though I may be wrong). He informed me that he was going to set up shop in Singapore sometime in May or June 2016! Hooray. The food here is really good and it's a steal - my meal above cost me only Y4,000, whereas it would have cost perhaps Y10,000 to 12,000 in a high end Ginza sushi restaurant for lunch and double that price (Y21,000 onwards) for dinner. For Y4,000 - the quality of the sushi here is excellent. Exceptional place and I will definitely return.