Dinner at 鮨 はしもと

Dinner at 鮨 はしもと

at Sushi Hashimoto (鮨 はしもと) on 29 November 2023
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Sushi Hashimoto (April 2023). Now entering a series of posts on "sushiya that are good and you actually at least have a chance of booking." Sick of 'grammers incessantly posting the Arai tuna rainbow, or smiling photos of Amamoto-san and Saito-san? Doesn't it feel like they are all just here to display their superiority and access over you? No, that's just me? Well, ok then 😵‍💫.
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The #1 question I get asked on this platform is how and if a certain place can be booked. I don't begrudge it. Researching high end restaurants in Japan is a different ballgame. Many "best-of" lists (including the tabelog rankings) are essentially worthless as they will produce a volume of places that are fully booked by regulars, VIPs, and those annoying international "foodies" who just want to post about how special they are and collect all the exclusive bookings like Pokémon (saying that last point with deep self-awareness).
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I have three things to say to this:
1. If it's your first (or even fourth) time in Japan, don't sweat it. The distinction between the "best", "top tier" and the "very good" won't be meaningful. I know at least, it wasn't for me until I had been visiting Japan for years.
2. Instagram/tabelog hype doesn't necessarily equal food quality or experience quality and it certainly doesn't equal cost performance.
3. There are places that are still tough resys, but can be booked without a bot that trolls OMAKASE (the worst-policed resy site of all time), or paying the exorbitant fees of Tableall or Shukuoku. Which means, there are many high-end experiences available to non-local, non-VIPs if you have an open mind.
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I certainly put Hashimoto-san in that category. While the vibe and format is different than his famed master, the ingredients used and preparations are more or less quite similar. There are large, powerful nigiri, with firm shari that has decently strong (I'd rate 7.5/10) vinegar flavor. One difference is that extra attention is paid to the nihonshu selection, and a pairing for the full meal runs under ¥6k, so it's well worth taking advantage of. Many of the regulars like to drink here, and it lends itself to a more relaxed, "dinner party"-like atmosphere.