Lunch at Sugita (日本橋蛎殻町 すぎた)
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Summer visit at Sugita. Excellent food as always, I find, with some exceptions, the ostumami inferior to the nigiri, also in comparison to other high end sushi restaurants. The Scabbard Fish (Tachiuo, 太刀魚), a summer fish very popular in Japan, was excellent. Equally, the Hotate (帆立 / scallop) wrapped in Kombu was as good as it gets.
However when Sugita-San starts with the nigiri, he is arguably at the very top of his profession. There are very few daishō in Japan who form the nigiri as artfully as he does. After one of the Japanese customers, a young woman in her late twenties, commented that the way he forms the nigiri is “very sexy”, Sugita San told the admiring crowd that when he started out he thought of him being very bad at forming nigiri. He practiced a lot for many years, but only after he attended lessons for the tea ceremony, he realized that he needed to use the elegance of the movement of the ceremony when forming his nigiri. He always tries to achieve perfection, but only 5-6 times during a whole meal, he just feels that this nigiri is just perfect. Given that he serves about 15 nigiris for 10 customers during one meal, that is a very low percentage (3%). He interestingly also pointed out that his ingredients are “totally normal” and only his restaurant’s process makes it very special.
I am, of course, in no position to verify one or the other, I just sit there and indulge in the pleasure his food gives me.