Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sushi Dai - Tsukiji market

Tokyo has an endless array of sushi choices, with decent offerings for every budget category. The fact is, even the mediocre sushi I have in Tokyo is better than some of the best sushi I've had elsewhere in the world. However, after having tried everything from cheap kaiten (rotator belt) sushi to 3-Michelin star establishments to Kyubey (creator of gunkan sushi), I have finally concluded that the best sushi in Tokyo is indeed found at Tsukiji market. Actually, let me backtrack. The best sushi is really an overbroad term - it may depend on whether you want "innovative" sushi, or an austere setting, or interaction with the chef, etc. For each of those categories, there's a restaurant that fits the bill, but the best sushi (in my opinion), in terms of freshness and taste, is at Sushi Dai in Tsukiji market.

I've tried both Sushi Dai and Sushi Daiwa (the original, and I believe owned by a family member of Dai's owner), as well as a couple other restaurants in Tsukiji, and Dai is my favorite. For 3850 yen, you are served the chef's omakase - ten pieces of the chef's choice (you can tell the chef if there are specific types you don't like - for example, I don't like "chewy" sushi such as ika, tako, clam, etc.), plus one piece of your choice, plus tuna and cucumber rolls and freshly cooked tamago. Sushi Dai also offers a 2500 yen set, but trust me - trust the chef and go with the chef's omakase. After all, if you waited 3 hours to eat sushi (which you will if you arrive anytime after 7 am), you might as well eat the best they have to offer!

Otoro - the most buttery, velvety toro I have ever had, without any of the chewy muscle strings that other otoro often has



Warm tamago, straight from the chef's pan

Food rating: *****
Bang for buck rating: 4.5 (half a star knocked off because you have to spend 3 hours of your life waiting in line, and time = money)

The essentials:
No website
Inside Tsukiji market, in block #6. Look for the ridiculously long line, and you've probably found it
Average price of meal for two: 7700 yen (~$85)


  1. I wish I were sitting at that counter right now.

  2. Hi Deb,

    Great review. Thanks for your thoughts on why you enjoy Dai. :) I still haven't gotten a chance to try either Daiwa or Dai, but I'll have to try it next time I'm in town.

    Have you tried waiting in line before 7 a.m.? Is it significantly shorter (and thus, worth waking up that much earlier)? :) Thanks!

  3. Exile - I've been to Sushi Daiwa at 6:15 am and we only had to wait 20 minutes. The last time I was at Sushi Dai, we got there by 6:45, but were not seated until 9:20! It's great sushi but the 2-3 hour is always painful!