Chef Matsui is a sushi master, he's an artist, and to watch him and his art at his restaurant in Tokyo is an unforgettable experience. His voice is calm, he's concentrated, his movements are never hasty or hurried, every cell of his mind and body is dedicated to his craft. And when he smiles you can see how much he loves what he does.
Visiting a restaurant in Tokyo is a new experience for all the senses. The rooms are often bright and small, a wooden counter is the centerpiece, the chef behind preparing the dishes in front of your eyes, and the tiny kitchen at the back is only used when heat is needed. You can practically follow every step, see all the fresh ingredients laid out in front of you, but there's always a secret, the magic that you can't understand or explain, the reason why, sometimes, a dish tastes larger than life.
When you read the menu that Masaki Matsui prepared for us, you can get an idea of the minimalism that he celebrates, a glimpse of the tastes that excited my taste buds and make me want me to go back to this place. It's the purest culinary treat, it's such a focused way of preparing, serving, and enjoying food. It talks to your senses and your intellect. I can even skip my beloved glass of wine, which usually accompanies all the special meals that I treat myself to. When you eat the sushi creations at Chef Matsui's restaurant, you want to stay focused, remain silent - no distractions - just taste and see what happens.
There are no words to describe food on this level, it's a feast of tastes and textures, framed by a perfect visual presentation. It melts when it should melt, it crunches when it should crunch, every flavor is present, it sparks like a firework, and when you leave the restaurant, you feel enchanted.
Menu of the evening:
Miso Sauce marinated Hot Spring Egg (the white is soft like custard, the yolk is firm) with Chicory (endive)
Spinach and Chrysanthemum Flower seasoned with Vinegar, Sugar, and Dashi
Hokkaido Matsukawa Flounder with Ponzu Sauce
Striped Jack Mackerel in Soy Sauce
Lightly broiled Sesame Fish
Boiled Octopus and Radish with Shiso Leaf
Straw smoked Bonito with Pink Seaweed Salt
Sea Urchin and Crab Meat
Pike and Radish in a Vinegar Dressing
Red Snapper and Matsutake Mushroom with Sudachi (citrus fruit)
Horse Mackerel Sushi
Konoshiro Gizzard Shad (spotted sardine) Sushi
Razor Clam Sushi
Maguro (tuna) marinated in Soy Sauce
Chu-toro (almost like Oh-toro, the fattiest part of the tuna belly)
Chu-toro (the medium fat part of the tuna belly)
Yam marinated in Wasabi and Pumpkin Pickles