Sushi Sakaba Omotenashi (寿司酒場 おもてなし)
Sushi Sakaba Omotenashi is a small and hidden sushi restaurant & bar in Shibuya. It is in the basement of a building located around 6 minutes walk from Shibuya station and has a nice and calm atmosphere, which will make you forget you are in one of the busiest cities, Shibuya.
"Sakaba" means a "place to drink", and there is actually no word to describe "Omotenashi" in English. It can mean "hospitality", "warm welcome", "showing respect", and much more and deeper considerations. "Sushi Sakaba Omotenashi" actually welcome you and serve dishes wholeheartedly.
6 minutes walk from the east exit of Shibuya station.
6 minutes walk from the B1 exit of Omotesando station.
They offer an authentic "edomae-style" sushi priced reasonably compared to other high-end sushi places in Tokyo. You can get a delicious sushi set or don (rice bowl) around 1000-2000 yen for lunch. For dinner, you can easily spend under 10000 yen to try their special sushi and selected sake, which gives you a great run for your money given the quality and ambiance.
<What is "edomae sushi"?>
Edomae-style sushi originally means Tokyo's sushi or sushi made with the seafood from the Tokyo Bay. Today, it usually refers to "sushi with a lot of work". While common sushi is simply made of rice and raw fish, Edomae sushi requires chefs to work on the ingredients, like marinating, seasoning, aging, and so on.
"Omakase" dinner specialty
"Omakase" (5400 yen) is the most recommended menu for dinner. "Omakase" is a set menu which consists of the chef's choices. It usually comes with seasonal items, popular and specialty items, so if you don't know what to get, just go for the "omakase"!
Here are what we had in the Omakase set...
First of all, the chef served "Shirako and Ankimo" as a starter. Shirako is cod milt and ankimo is monkfish liver. This may sound strange, but the taste is actually not strong at all. The shirako was very soft and creamy just like milk. Ankimo tasted like a rich liver paste and didn't have a distinctive smell. It is well worth trying!
The second item was "Nodoguro", which is a kind of white fish known as a seasonal and expensive fish. It was salted and grilled on the surface, which enhances the natural flavors.
Then, we got a "mini ikura don (salmon roe rice bowl)". Look at the cute tiny bowl with overflowing ikura! It didn't just look good but tasted amazing. The ikura was very fresh, slightly sweet, and melted in your mouth.
The forth item was "Kohada", which is called gizzard shad in English. The chef had salted and marinated the fish, then drizzled with sudachi (Japanese citrus) and soy sauce before serving. It was rich in flavors and refreshed the mouth.
The fifth item was "Hirame" or flounder in English. It had been kept between sheets of konbu (sea kelp), originally to preserve the raw fish longer. This technique can allow the flavor of the fish to be concentrated and to get umami (a savory taste).
The sixth sushi was "Akagai", which is blood clam or ark shell. There are actually many kinds of shellfish sushi in Japan and people like their texture. The akagai had a nice texture too; soft, chewy, and mois.
The seventh of the omakase course was "Kuruma ebi (prawn, shrimp)". The beautiful, big piece of prawn had been marinated with vinegar and egg yolk, which boosts the flavors and make it sweeter. It had the flavor of fresh prawn, including the natural sweetness.
Then, we got this spoonful of "uni", or sea urchin. It had two kinds of sea urchin so you can enjoy the different flavors. They were super rich, creamy, and had an elegant sweetness and saltiness.
More sushi! And the time to eat fatty tuna ("Chutoro", literally medium fatty tuna) came! It was directly handed on our hand so we just needed to put it in the mouth. It gently melted in our mouth and blended together perfectly with the rice.
Then, we got another tuna sushi "Otoro", or the fattiest tuna, which is famous as a high-quality and expensive sushi. Since their otoro is aged to increase the flavors, they can only take small parts off from the tuna. The taste was just amazing. It melted like butter.
The eleventh sushi was "Anago", which is a kind of eel. The texture was soft and had a grilled taste as it was slightly broiled. The sansho (a kind of spice or pepper) leaf was on top of the sushi and added a bit of a citrusy and spicy flavor.
The 10th item was "Tamagoyaki". It is a common sushi menu in Japan which is made from eggs and seasonings like sugar and dashi (Japanese cooking stock). The chef told us he added scallops and "yamatoimo" (yam), and cooked for it an hour over low heat to make the tamagoyaki flavorful and smooth. It tasted like a rich custard but also had a savory flavor. The texture was very smooth and soft.
The thirteenth dish of the omakase course was "Chawanmushi", a steamed egg custard. It is a typical Japanese side dish. The custard was light, savory, and very smooth. It had some veggies, shrimp, ginnan (ginkgo nuts), and bamboo shoots so you can enjoy the texture too.
Then, we finished with "Miso shiru (soup)". Their miso soup had seaweed and sansho which made the soup even more flavorful. It was really good to have such delicate, delicious soup as the last item of the meal.
Omotenashi will give you an amazing, authentic counter sushi experience, yet is reasonably-priced compared to other restaurants. It is suitable for couples and families too. You need to give it a try if you want an unforgettable dining experience when you come to Tokyo!