Like Miyako Sushi, Mitani Sushi, and some of the greatest Kaiseki restaurants in town, Sushisho Masa does not figure in the Michelin guide. Rumours as to why this is the case abound, and go as far as claiming that its chef has forbidden the guide to feature it. A meal here will, however, immediately clarify that this truly is one of the finest sushiya in Tokyo.
To prove that the Michelin guide has a lot less traction in Tokyo than say in Paris, Sushisho has gained a cult status in the international and local food scene. The reasons for this are manifold, and Sushisho Masa is certainly a very unique restaurant in Tokyo’s vast sea of top-restaurants.
One of the most interesting aspects of the restaurant is the number of pieces served throughout the course of a meal here. Chef Masa serves a good 30-40 pieces that allow you to explore not only a large number of fish, and shellfish, but also various kinds of sea urchin, clams, etc. letting you taste a surprisingly large number of preparations here. Of course, the individual pieces are somewhat smaller, but it has to be said that even guests with a solid appetite might struggle at the end of a meal here. That is something that cannot be said about every sushiya, and illustrates the generosity of chef Msakatsu Oka.
Additionally, the sushi here can at times introduce unusual elements of brilliance. A perfect example is the toro millefeuille, which has helped make the restaurant’s reputation. It essentially consists of thinly sliced fatty tuna belly, sandwiched with wasabi, and placed on the rice as a normal nigiri. This has to be one of the most brilliant pieces of sushi in all of Tokyo, given that the thin slicing and layering of the tuna belly gives you an impression of delicacy that you don’t always get with such fatty pieces. Aditionally, the wasabi’s spice, and acidity make it taste that much lighter, whilst not altering the melting texture that makes o-toro so special.
The savoury part of a meal at Sushisho Masa might end with a collection of uni sushi. Apart from introducing guests to various types of uni, Masa serves each kind in a different way. The final touch will be warmed sea urchin tongues, sat atop rice. This allows for the sweet, creamy flavour of the urchin to really come out, as the tongues have been heated just enough to intensify their flavour, without altering the texture, or its complexity. Combined with the carefully seasoned rice this is another stroke of genius.
A meal at Sushisho Masa is a remarkably effortless display of the riches of the sea, and impressive craftsmanship. There is not much to be criticised, as chef Masakatsu Oka’s food is not only remarkable, but manages to simply put a smile on your face with the toro millefeuille, or warm uni. Those two alone, are worth the price of admission here.