Guess who’s back? Chef Tomoyuki Hayashi, who reigned as head chef at Sushi Azabu for years, who left for a few years, has just returned! Who wants to play musical chairs with head sushi chefs? Chef Ichimura reportedly “fell sick” and left Ichimura (his namesake restaurant). Head chef from Azabu, who was in transition to another venue anyway, took temporary and part time residence at Ichimura. Ichimura’s omakase goes from $300 per person to $200 per person. Hayashi-san left wherever he was, is now back at Azabu. Ichimura came back swinging, claiming he is in perfect health, and is now suing his partner to get his name removed from restaurant ICHIMURA. Ichimura-san is reportedly now setting up shop at UCHU, which was originally intended for Chef David Bouhadana. Chef David helped UCHU owner Derek Feldman open up shop at SUSHI ON JONES, but stopped serving there almost immediately after they opened. No idea where Chef David is now… Take a breath… Whew! That was fun. J
Despite the changes in head chef, Sushi Azabu remains quite consistent with their food, service, and overall atmosphere. Food is still good, fresh, and decent variety, but very mainstream, sticking with the common fishes from both Americas and Japan. Service is still great, same host, waitress, sous chef, etc. Atmosphere is still light, easy, dimly lit with a well-dressed, good looking crowd.
- Smoked salmon and capers – Seriously? This dish survived the change in head chefs? I won’t go on and on about this dish, but take a read on our SUSHI AZABU – Sept 2016 post. Please stop serving this!
- Smoked whitefish, chilled, served with seaweed – They really need to work on their OTOSHI. This was gross. Even if I was super hungry, with $1 to my name, and they were giving this out for FREE, I’d decline. Yes, I am very dramatic, I’m charming like that.
- KINMEDAI (Golden Eye Snapper) – Thank goodness we are past the OTOSHI! Lovely cut of KINMEDAI. ALWAYS prefer it served with the skin ABURIed (torched), but this was still super good.
- Fresh Farm Salmon – Lovely! Remember how I said that AZABU sticks with the super common/well known fishes? This one was great, but you can get great farm salmon like this at every neighborhood sushi-ya. This is not a fancy cut of fish! Not what I would want of a pricey omakase.
- AKAMI (Lean Bluefin Tuna) – LOVE me a good AKAMI! Very good, no vein no funky aftertaste. YUMMY!
- HIRAME (Fluke) – Flukes always have some chew, but this one was a bit too Flavors wise, Hayashi-san was spot on, he served it with a little bit of salt, and a tiny squeeze of citrus, Another yum!
- Chutoro (Medium fatty tuna) – Still my favorite Toro, just the right amount of fat. Zero tinge, zero aftertaste! Very good!
- KAMA TORO (Fatty tuna cut from neck) – Really fatty, but no grime/tinge of any funky taste, any weird aftertaste, really good!
- IKURA (Salmon roe) – Big, non-crushed, beautiful luscious pearls of IKURA. Well marinated, non-sticky, really tasty!
- BOTAN EBI (Large spotted prawn) – EBI itself was very good, very fresh, slight and expected gum, very nice. Where is my fried BOTAN EBI head though???
- IWASHI (Japanese Sardine) – Peak for the season, this LOVELY IWASHI was just perfect. Reminds me of the mess that UOGASHI made… Sorry but I’m a girl after all, and I remember everything!
- HOTATE (Scallop) – Hayashi-san had marinated this HOTATE in soy, and served it to us as is. The marinade turned this super silky fish tough. Sorry Hayashi-san, the marinade was a bust for the HOTATE. I much prefer the tender, melt in your mouth, fresh HOTATE served with a pinch of salt and drizzle of citrus.
- SHIRO EBI (Sweet white baby shrimp) – Super fresh, super tasty. So much rice…
- OTORO (Super fatty Tuna) – Served ABURIED, and topped with a pinch of salt. Super light, very very good. For a fish that I don’t LOVE, this was great!
- HOKKAIDO UNI – From the “Japan sea”, really good!!!
- HOKKAIDO UNI – From Northern pacific, sweeter, less nut, but still really good!!!
- WAGYU BEEF – Not overly fatty, and incredibly tender!
- TORO TAKUAN (Pickled radish) – I guess that’s it? The 15 pieces and a half roll is not enough for dinner!
- Miso Soup – This is just plain MISO soup, nothing spectacular…
- TAMAGO (Egg custard) – Less cakey, less fluffy, much more custardy! I prefer it this way. Not enough sugar for the torched top though… Very good!
- AWABI (Abalone) – Chef suggested us to have this as SASHIMI rather than sushi. Done! This AWABI, had just the perfect chewiness, decent flavor, but not seasoned thoroughly. There has to be a term shorter than this to describe these flavors/textures…
- NODOGURO (Black Throat) – LOVE me a good NODOGURO. Problem is, the jalapeño topping was too much. Totally overpowered this super light fish!
- TAKO (Octopus) – I missed my photo opp, but this was really good. NO where in the range of USHIWAKAMARU, or 15 East, or KYO YA – JUN 2017 good, but still very, very good.
The wait staff remembers us even though it’s been almost a year since our last visit! That’s impressive! The food was very good, but nothing that just sends me to the moon and back. Nothing that earth shattering. Very good….