I typically go back to Japan every mid-November, so I’m spending Thanksgiving in Japan. As a result, I don’t eat turkey according to American customs, but at Thanksgiving in 2019, I visited Sushisho Masa in Nishi-Azabu to make it a more memorable dinner than usual. Mr. Masakatsu Oka from Yotsuya “Sushi Sho” will provide you with wonderful nigiri and side dishes. The interior of the store, which has only 7 seats at the counter, is small, but it is a very cozy space with a very clean design.
Unlike the super-famous stores where reservations are not possible, I was able to secure a seat even though I only contacted him about a month ahead of time. They have two seatings per meal, and I chose a late seating with a 9 pm reservation. Upon arrival, there were two pairs of customers on either side of us at the counter. I was guided to our seats by Masa-san. This was the second visit for me to this shop and the first time for J.
The menu is only omakase (prepared per the chef’s recommendation). For drinks, I chose sake from the beginning and left the pairing up to the chef. The first one I received was Yamada Nishiki, a long-established brand from Kyoto. It is a well suited as an aperitif with a slight effervescence.
The first item was octopus. Soft and juicy. From the beginning, it is hard to describe how delicious it is.
The second item is Hirame (flatfish). The left piece includes liver, and a wonderful harmony spreads in the mouth.
The third item is Akagai (red clam).
The fourth item Amaebi kobujime (spot prawns marinated with sake and wrapped in kelp).
The fifth item was Saba (mackerel). The fragrant burnt condition and the color of the unburned part are beautiful.
The sixth item was Tsubugai (sea snail).
Next, the liver of the sea snail.
The eighth item is nigiri sushi with Sawara (Spanish mackerel). Until now, the dishes have been otsumame sashimi dishes, and this is the first sushi served with rice (nigiri).
Next was a seared Sawara. You can enjoy changing the taste, aroma, and texture of the same type of fish by preparing it differently.
The tenth item was Kobako (female snow crab). The left in the photo is mature eggs from the crab, the right is immature eggs, and the back is leg meat. It was one of my favorite dishes of the day.
The eleventh plate was Korai (small snapper) nigiri. Between the fish and the rice was umeboshi (pickled plum).
Next, grilled scallop mantle skewers. It’s very fragrant.
The thirteenth dish was Ankimo (monkfish liver). It had a rich taste.
The fourteenth item is octopus shirako (milt – sperm sacs or testes). I’ve had other kinds of shirako, but not octopus.
When the Sanma (Pacific Saury) was brought out as the 15th dish, I was surprised because November is a little late in the season for Sanma. When I told that to Masa-san, he said he bought it because there was a good selection in the market today. Hence, this beautiful piece. I think it looked the most beautiful of all the dishes I received.
Next was Sanma again, this time grilled. It was great to be able to eat both sashimi and grilled Sanma one after the other.
The seventeenth dish was Aburabōzu (skilfish) nigiri.
Next was boiled the stomach of Aburabōzu (skilfish).
The nineteenth dish was grilled scallop wrapped in seaweed. The aroma of seaweed and the texture of the scallop was wonderful.
Dish twenty was lean yellowtail.
Next, the outside of the yellowtail.
The twenty-second item was cod milt. Today, we were offered two types of milt, this milt and octopus milt. You probably remember what milt is.
The 23rd item was oysters from Senposhi, Hokkaido. Due to the cool climate on the eastern side of Hokkaido, the water temperature is low throughout the year, so it seems that oysters can be harvested and eaten all year round. Raw oysters are one of my favorite foods.
The 24th item was marinated Bonito sushi.
Next was seared Bonito. It took real good control of the heat to prepare this dish.
The twenty-sixth plate was the third use of Aburabōzu. I cannot recall the cut of the fish in this case.
The 27th item was a cut of Kohada (Japanese shad), sliced to very fine fins. It is the second most beautiful cut after the Sanma.
The 28th item was Maguro chūtoro (medium fatty tuna). It is a kind of comfort food and was delicious.
Next was a Maguro daitoro (large fatty tuna). With this much wasabi, you don’t have to worry about the greasiness.
The last of the three tuna is a Akami marinated tuna. In the end, I prefer the leaner tuna.
Item 31 was a prawn nigiri with the head served on the side. It had a crispy texture.
Item 32 was Amaebi and miso (spot prawns and miso).
The 33rd plate was Akagai mantle roll (blood or red clam). The combination of the colorful appearance and texture of the thin roll is wonderful.
Item 34 was a Kawahagi nigiri. Kawahagi is a flat, sand-dwelling fish in the Japanese coastal areas. It is served with its liver (mashed) on top.
The 35th plate was Amago (red spotted trout) grilled with salt.
Next was uni (sea urchin). I cannot recall the place of origin.
The 37th item was two types of serving of eel nigiri – tare and salt (shio).
Item 38 was vinegared Saba (mackerel) nigiri. This is also beautiful in appearance.
Plate 39 was Kinmedai cured between layers of kelp nigiri sushi.
Next was roasted Kinmedai.
Finally, I got an egg dish and the course meal was complete!
There were 26 otsumame plates and 17 nigiri sushi servings, including 2 milts and 3 livers dishes. The Aburabōzu liver and Ankimo are said to be the foie gras of the sea, so they were quite rich and my stomach was about to explode! I enjoyed various preparations of the same fish with different cuts and different cooking methods. Moreover, no part of a fish is wasted. It is difficult to take the time to observe each item during the meal, but looking back on the photos in this way impresses me with the beauty of how the pieces were cut. Next time, I will make sure to have a bigger appetite. The experience and the food was a real treat.