President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just finished a meal at Tokyo’s Sukiyabashi Jiro, one of the best sushi restaurants in the world.
Sukiyabashi Jiro is headed up by 89-year-old master chef Jiro Ono. In addition to his restaurant’s three-star Michelin rating, Jiro is widely regarded as the world’s top sushi chef and was featured in the 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”
His 20-course sushi meal is expensive — 30,000 Japanese yen (just under $300) — and lasts just 15 to 20 minutes as courses are served in rapid succession.
Obama and Abe’s dinner at the 10-seat restaurant, which is located in a subway station, lasted a leisurely hour and a half.
“That’s some good sushi right there,” Obama told reporters as he left the restaurant.
Hirame is a light flatfish that cleanses the palate and prepares diners for the fishier bites to come. It sits atop Jiro’s famous rice which is slightly acidic (it has hints of vinegar) to complement the fish flavors.
It’s followed by Sumi Ika, or squid, which has a slightly rubbery texture, but fresh taste.
The Buri or adult Yellowtail Tuna is next. It’s brushed lightly with soy sauce.
Then it’s time for the Tuna trifecta made with tuna nigiri, which is aged up to 10 days. The sequence goes from lean to extra-fatty tuna. The chef starts with Akami or lean tuna.
Next is Chu-toro, or medium-fatty tuna.
And then Oo-toro, or premium fatty tuna. This one melts on your tongue and has a hint of wasabi between the fish and the rice.
The Holy Grail of tuna is followed by Kohada or Gizzard Shad, a type of herring.
And then Akagai (Ark Shell) and Saba (Mackerel).
Aji (or Jack Mackerel) follows with a light fish flavor balanced by the rice.
The tiger shrimp (or Kuruma Ebi) is cut into two pieces — one the head, the other the tail.
The chewy Hamaguri (clam) is lightly brushed with a sweet glaze and is rich in flavor.
The Iwashi (sardine) is exceptional. It has a hint of fish brine while still tasting fresh.
A crunchy seaweed outer layer surrounds the Uni (sea urchin). As creamy as ice cream, this is another standout for diners.
It’s followed by both Ikura (Salmon Roes) and Kobashira (baby scallops).
The Anago, a type of sea eel, melts in your mouth. It almost tastes sweet, and the chefs encourage everyone to eat it without soy sauce.
Last comes the Tamago or the moist egg sponge cake. It has a distinct sweet flavor and a fluffy texture.
Guests are then taken away from the sushi bar and to a table in the back where they’re served melon and tea.