Near the Nishi-Azabu intersection, a little hideaway restaurant with seven counter seats named Sushi Yamada opened on the 13th of January, 2021. The restaurant is run by Mr. Masaki Kanemitsu, a 27 year old young star chef who has been honing his skills since the age of 16 at a well-known restaurant in Kitashinchi, Osaka.
The Omakase course (chef’s recommended course) is a ¥20,000 dish of sushi made with red vinegar. The recommended course changes monthly, there are seven dishes made with seasonal ingredients and around 20 dishes centered around 12 sushi pieces. “My goal is to compete with Kansai-style sweet rice, a dish that is not very common in Tokyo.” Mr Kanemitsu says. “We want to create red vinegar sushi that our customers never tire of eating and dishes that melt in the mouth.” Red vinegar rice is generally known to have a strong taste but Sushi Yamada has managed to create sushi that is moderately sweet and quite easy to eat.
These dishes are the kind that go very well with sake so be sure to order the Japanese sake pairing (¥10,000) or the wine pairing (¥10,000) The sake pairing contains a selection of famous sake known for going well with sushi such as Junmai daiginjo Yayama (Hiroshima), Junmaiginjo Hiroki (Fukushima) and Junmai daiginjo (Aomori). The wine pairing set consists of domestically produced organic wines from Sommelier Select.
Let’s introduce Mutsuki (January) recommended course as an example.
Watching the skilled handiwork of the chef before me, the first pairing sake, Sensho Masamune, was prepared. The course begins with a sushi of Isaki (chicken grunt fish followed with the mellow, sweet taste of red vinegar rice. The first seasonal is Namasu with persimmon. Namasu is the dish of vegetables seasoned in vinegar and it is a traditional osechi New Year’s dish and the sourness of the persimmon accentuates it really well.
One thing to note is that this dish, when followed with sushi, matches quite well. The thinly sliced, translucent Aori Squid holds a soft texture that compliments this dish brilliantly. Nigiri combined with snow crab and hair crab makes for an excellent tasting dish. The next dish is fried food and the smooth taste of the moonlight lily root with fried edamame and tilefish is exquisite. The next nigiri sushi is sea bream (sparidae). One of the most beautifully coloured parts of this dish is mustard vinegar miso with mill shellfish and rape blossoms. This dish goes beautifully with Junmai Ginjo Misen sake. This was followed by the next dish, Kohada.
As these dishes contain nigiri between them all, it feels more like eating sushi. With the chef soaking tuna in a soy sauce soup broth and handling the longtooth grouper fish, the next dish is being prepared and I’m dying to see what the next dish will be. For this, the salty taste of sea cucumber goes really well with the mellow texture of ebiimo. The sake that goes with this is Junmai Ginjo Hiroki and the nigiri are the popular Zuke-Maguro (tuna pickled in soy sauce) and Otoro.
Just at the perfect time, shabu-shabu of Kue (longtooth grouper fish) and yellow leek is served in a bowl. There are two types of longtooth grouper fish, one that is slowly cooked and one that has been boiled quickly, the taste difference is distinctive. Yellow leek accentuates the dish perfectly in both taste and texture.
A wooden box is carried in and so begins the next dish, sea urchin sushi. The green seaweed placed between the rice and sea urchin is very fragrant and really brings out the flavor of the sea urchin. Steamed Spanish mackerel has a very gentle flavor. This mackerel sushi is given to you by the chef, sandwiched between seaweed. Fragrant seaweed and mackerel go really well together. Following this, the sake to match is Junmai Daiginjo Hiroki. As this course nears its end, this grilled dish is a Kyoto-style grilled Japanese butterfish. The final dish is two pieces of sushi, boiled oysters and conger eel.
What warms the body on a cold day is the taste of soup and the sweetness of red bean paste mochi. These dishes contained the perfect blend of sushi, seasonal dishes and Japanese sake. I look forward to the contents of courses available in seasons like Kisaragi (February), Yayoi (March) and Uzuki (April).
Chef Kanemitsu resonated with the image of S.H.N. Co. Ltd which works in the pursuit of helping young artisans open businesses. Under that aim, this store is the first to open. Under S.H.N. Co Ltd, this restaurant is the third high-class sushi restaurant to open. The store name itself originates from Kenji Yamada, the president of Suntory. S.H.N. Co Ltd will continue to support the pursuit of independent new business openings with different business formats. We hope that this young chef from Kansai will play an active role in that aim in Tokyo.
Shop Name: Sushi Yamada
Location: 4-2 L-First Building, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Access: 2 minutes walk from Nishi-Azabu crossing. First basement floor of the building where Century 21 is located on the first floor, diagonally in front ENEOS along Gaien Nishi-dori. 10 minutes walk from Hiroo Station.
Capacity：Counter 7 seats
Business Hours: 6pm～11pm (1st Part: 6pm～ / 2nd Part: 8:30pm～）
Reservation time slots are divided into two parts. 6pm to 8pm and 8:30pm to 11pm.
*Due to the state of emergency, currently they open only for the first.