Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Revelation of world's greatest sushi - Otomezushi, Kanazawa

Tucked at the end of an alley, with no signboard. the main entrance is so narrow, only hobbits like us and my tour group of fluffy hobbits *if u know them by now* could walk into this narrow path.

Why is it that good things must always be tucked away, unknown, with no signboard like some Yakuza joint *the famed Japanese gangster triad*? Maybe it's really some Yakuza joint hahahaha.

Monkey got to know this restaurant through Relais & Chateaux group of luxury hotels and resorts, reckon that it should be in our list. My oh's really difficult to book but nevermind....the hotel concierge is known to be efficient and 1.5 months before our arrival....all details and information has been confirmed. Including filling up the no-show charges form. They are that serious!!! We were serious too!!! NO one and I mean nothing can stop us from coming or taking away my reservations!!! It's mine mine MINE!!!!!! 

Our taxi driver dropped us hesitantly bcoz he himself wasn't sure if it's the right place, in such darkness and cold. We assured him that we will be alright and that's the right place we are heading to - some Yakuza joint. After all Mr. JS do look like one. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA doesn't he?

a beautiful quaint little zen garden greeted us in the winter chill, and we breathed a sigh of relief that this is really Otomezushi.....crchefs around the world including Masterchefs and Chefs from different parts of Japan made their pilgrimage here to learn and taste the very best from Sushi Master Chef Kazuhiko Tsurumi.

That's the man.....who holds the secret to perfect sushi. He is the 3rd generation/line of sushi master in the 50 years old history of Otomezushi. We couldn't believe it that we were here!!! and again being the only Gaijin *tourists* we had to use our minimal japanese and sign language to communicate.

However the staffs here were so friendly, enthusiastic and cute!!! They did their outmost to ensure our comfort level and that we are one and together with the rest of the such zen-ness I say :))) ohhmmmmm ohhhmmmm ohmmmmm

There was even a brass pot of hot charcoal behind me to warm my back. It was really freezing cold out there, if it's definitely snowing!!!! Aaahhhh so comfortable...

Beautiful chopsticks holder. Kanazawa is a city of arts, from making gold leaf, to painting and handicrafts. But most of all it is also the main city for the prefecture of Ishikawa, rich in rice, sake and sea produce.

Fish is really big deal here in the prefecture of Ishikawa. Japanese attest that the best fish in the country comes from Ishikawa. And bcoz of that statement, we made our way to this area with so few tourists, you will stand out like a sore thumb being Gaijins *tourists*

the waitress brought out a tray of beautiful hand crafted sake glasses for us to choose. Being me, I chose the prettiest looking one on the tray, while JS took his fav color blue/green.

Actually u are supposed to choose according to the sake variants that u r drinking!!! oh gosh!!! why didn't anyone tell us that? Now I felt like I drank coffee in chinese tea cups!!! GRRRRRrrrrrRRRRR

Otomezushi serves nothing else but sushis and sashimis only...
The beautiful cypress wood table seats less than 10, so that explains why reservations are so hard to come by. He's fully booked in advance round the calendar year.

On top of the cypress wood, is a long piece of dark lacquer beautiful that u won't wanna land any chopsticks nor table ware on top. Well which we found out that we shouldn't. All sushis are to be eaten by hands.

the stark contrast of the black lacquer wood further enhanced the usually lighter colored sushis including this heap of Gari *ginger*

the yellow vs the pink there's alwiz the debate. Some ppl like them hot, some like the vinegar's pungent taste, some prefer it more mellow and subtle...oh well it's all very subjective and I guess the Chef select the kind of gari served to complement their sushis. Same goes to rice, whether to use red or white vinegar....oh well this will be another long topic.

Our very first of sushis was already this stunning....
sweet prawns with its roe...If u do visit any seafood markets in Japan, u'll see these prized prawns with its roe intact on its outer sweet so rich it gave such ecstatic sensation and palate plus dizziness....almost like alcohol richness.

Sashimi of sea bream with just a hit of freshly grated wasabi.
So u gotta be really attentive in listening to instruction. When chef said no soyu means no soyu. Do not disobey. Actually he will not brand you with his sharp sashimi knives, just that I suppose diners will need to obey the beauty and palate of the fish instead of dunking it into the soyu.

such beautifully prepared fresh squid, almost like a sailing yacht. Topped with delicate toasted Japanese sesame, laid sparingly to complement the richness of the squid.

We could not imagine why the seafood here was so darn good. The geographical location of Ishikawa between the flourishing Sea of Japan and mount Hakusan gave its sea a thriving spot for marine life. Hence they are really fat and extremely sweet. The current in the sea during winter also contributed to the fattiness of the seafood. Sooooo....we came here at the right time, during winter :))))

the japanese couple next to us were so mesmerised by the quality of the fishes presented to them too. Each bite, each piece....silence ensued the dining room.....followed by gasps and praises in amazement to the chef.

While chef received compliments in grace with a bow, before continuing on to his passion. Watching him work is like magic, we were so hypnotized. Hahahahaha

the much anticipated Buri fish - Japanese yellowtail.

It is said that the best yellowtail in the country comes from Ishikawa. We conquered that!!!! There was also a slice of fatty clam with japanese lime on its side. Once we have tasted buri, no more turning back. It's as delicate as the fatty torro with more bite and flavours.

an interlude of small bites of marinated ika. Very deep in flavors but nothing could prepare me for the next dish.

Fugu no shirako

this is the most prized part of a Fugu fish....-__-"
seriously....when it was served I knew wat's coming. Plus chef took the effort to slightly grilled its outer sac until has harden slightly to firmly enveloped its content....some really fine sea salt served on the side.

JS was giggling like a high school gal when 2 healthy dollop of fugu no shirako were served in front of Monkey. And to respect the local culture, plus all the hardwork being put to prepare all these and to share with YOU my readers the experience of eating Fugu sperm sacs.

Yes u read that right.....I've eaten quite a bit of sperm sacs but nothing can be compared to such huge ones from fugu fish!!!!! Bigger than my eye balls!!!! Prollie eating cow testicles should be in my next to do list.

so to eat this, u need to pop the whole piece into your mouth for it's really creamie and delicate on the inside. Rich and milky, it has got the briny-ness from the sea. Overall it wasn't a bad experience but not something that I yearn for :P

After that, our first piece of carefully crafted sushi soon danced its grace to the lacquer table top in front of us. So juicy, creamie and sweet prawns. The texture of the rice was amazingly perfect and it came in really tiny piece so that the rice won't fill us up. If u noticed, there's 2 pieces of the sweet prawns :))))

and 2 pieces of tuna on top rice. This was perfect. I'm not the one who would go for the normal part of tuna, but this one was rather succulent and melts in the mouth. Always thought only the belly part will give u such intensity in terms of flavour and texture.

again Ishikawa managed to prove that there's still so much to be learn when it comes to sushis and sashihmis. I like it the way that some of the pieces have been carefully brushed with extremely high quality of soyu.

Why would I say that? Again back to its geographical location, Apparently Ishikawa poroduces one of the top range of soyu in Japan. All thanks to its beautiful grains, rice and water from Mount Hakusan. So it just complements each other isn't it? Ishikawa has already been made naturally a sushi heaven right?

Now think the beautiful Koshihikari rice produced here, the fatty juicy succulent fish, wonderful malty soyu, and top notch sake. Bcoz of all these elements, none of the sushi establishments here will disappoint you.

have u ever seen such a pristine looking sardines? almost like a Top Model!!! gosh!!! it's so pretty looking and immaculate. You can never find fault with it at all!!

The format here is, Chef usually served 2 pieces of fish per serving on top of small portion of rice. Just the right formula :))))

And also his capability of anticipating each diners as his observation skills are highly regarded. Not all diners get the same omakase for he reads and anticipates your emotion feelings of the day, your selection of sake/beverages, and how you pick your sushis also matters. If you pick it up with chopsticks then he will need to prepare it firmer. Also the speed that you are consuming your sushis.

So his capability to anticipate also makes each dining experience with him unique and tailor made I would say. All these were happening without you realising.

I was served a really hot cup of tea and impatient me lifted it up and almost burnt my fingers. I quickly settled it down and as I was transferring the burnt to my earlobes, chef came with another clay tea cup and "pulled" my tea for me so it will be at a drinkable temperature. AWWWWWwwww even JS never do that for me :P JS please learn!!!

the special crab from this region...topped with its creamie bitter sweet ROEs!!! it's the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb!!!
Again we came at the right timing. Winter would be the best months to visit this prefecture. 

can't run away from fresh sea urchin in deep orange color......with lightly toasted crispy seaweed. The slight heat somehow "refresh" the flavor of the seaweed. I can have the whole tub of sea urchin to myself. gimme gimme gimme~~~~

Finally Torro was served to us. The cut was really good, thick enough to savor its delicate taste as the fat melts as soon as it touches the tongue. I am so glad that Chef prepare the rice in such small portion. Hence we could eat more and more and more and more.....just bring it on!!!

Why oh why didn't we discover the prefecture of Ishikawa much much earlier???? The capital city Kanazawa is so lovely too, with almost no foreign tourists, it's much more calmer. Plus I love the art museum there :)))

At this juncture I surprised myself that we could pop in more sushis. The above was Sea Eel grilled in homemade sauce with a tiny dollop of grated horseradish aka wasabi.

Chef sensed that we were about there....he asked if there's anymore special request.
Monkey gave her widest cheshire cat grin...."I want a maki!!"
JS >.< this tiny notti monkey can really eat!!!

So as our "makis" were being prepared, we were served a white mison soup with a piece of seafood eggwhite tofu. Light and foamy with juiciness from the sea.

AaaaAAAAaaaaa comfort food. You guys really do need to roll me outta here, my tummy looked like a barrel~~~~

and the beautiful maki arrived with finely hand-cut crunchy cucumber, heavenly grilled in sweet sauce eel with amazingly crispy skin...and even crispier seaweed.

The eel was so fat it's almost like pork!!!! its skin was really crunchy like roast pork. I should have "tapao" these to go back to my hotel coz it's succulently good I could have more but then at the restaurant, my tummy was almost on the verge of exploding.

Monkey and JS toasted to each other.....what a gastronomical experience to dine here at Otomezushi. Would you just focus on the crackling of the eels??? What kind of eel could give such crispy crunchy fatty texture??? only sea eel from Ishikawa I suppose :)))

If you would really want to dine here, I recommend that your hotel assist you in your booking or get a Japanese speaking person to help you. Details as follows:

4-10 Kiguramachi,
Kanazawa 920-0988,
Ishikawa Perfecture,
Tel +81 7 6231 7447


LiMcHeE said...

how do you make booking for Otomozushi? I am going to Kanazawa in October

CHER-RY said...

Hello LimChee,

Thank you for dropping by :)
You may get your hotel to make the bookings for you so it's best that you secure your hotel reservation in advance, as they only speak Japanese.

Hope this helps :)

LiMcHeE said...

Hi Cherry,

Any recommendation on where to stay in Kanazawa? :D

CHER-RY said...

Good morning LimChee,

The best area to stay would be near its avant garde Kanazawa train station. There are a few hotels there to suit different budgets. Also the tourists loop bus starts at the train station so if u make your base here, it would be extremely convenient. However Kanazawa isn't that big and if you are adventurous and energetic, goin on foot is quite convenient too. We stayed at Nikko Hotel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cherry,

Thank you for the post on the Otomozushi restaurant. It's quiet timely as I'm doing research on Japan travels later this year. Could I get some idea as to the total cost of the entire meal plus drinks?

CHER-RY said...

Dear anonymous,

The dinner for 2 pax plus 2 bottles of sake was about RM 800. As they hardly speak english, it would be best to get your hotel to book for you. :) Have a good travel there.

Unknown said...

Hi Cherry,

Thank you for your wonderful post on Otomezushi. I enjoyed reading and looking at the beautifully captured photos in your posting. May I know if they accept credit card for payment? Is one day sufficient time to secure a place at Otomezushi? Is Otomezushi open for lunch as well? Thank you in advance.