Monday, September 5, 2011

Awesome(er?) Sushi at Daiwa (大和寿司), Tsukiji, Tokyo!

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When you go to Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market, it's a given that you'll have breakfast at one of the many sushi restaurants there. And of all the restaurants, two of them stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. The first is Sushi Dai, which we queued an hour and a half for (and reviewed a few days ago). We were so awestruck that we just had to go back again to try the other place - Daiwa Sushi (大和寿司)!

The queue is much, much shorter, and upon queue'ing we find out the first reason - Daiwa Sushi has 6 itamae's, or sushi chefs in two shoplot/restaurants, and so can serve twice as many people. The second reason being that they serve you the sushi at a much faster rate, so you subconsciously eat faster.

The mission is the same - go in, greet the chef, and yell おまかせ (I leave it to you)! We're again started off with green tea and an omelette, after which the chefs start laying the sushi on our (wooden) plates! We start off with Ootoro (Fatty Tuna Belly), Ika (Squid) and Uni (Sea Urchin):

Then comes the Squid, Red Snapper, and a tuna-and-salmon-roe roll:

And we finish off with Chuutoro (Not-So-Fatty Tuna Belly) and Anago (Sea Eel).

You'll immediately notice that Daiwa Sushi's おまかせ only serves you 7 pieces of nigiri and one roll (compared against 11 nigiri and one roll for Sushi Dai). Sushi Dai also has more 'imaginative' offerings (e.g. salt on the snapper, and marinated Maguro), and the chefs and waitresses were friendlier overall. However, we felt that the fish serving size and taste/quality at Daiwa was slightly better than Sushi Dai, and having twice the number of sushi chefs means you do queue half as long. In summary:

In this head to head battle, our recommendation is to go for Sushi Dai if you can afford the 1.5-2.0 hour wait. However if you're a little pressed for time, Daiwa Sushi gives you slightly better sushi and a way shorter queue, at the expense of value for money and service/hospitality. In any case you won't go wrong with either place, and if you're a sushi lover and ever find yourself in Tokyo you owe it to yourself to take a trip down here at least once!

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