2006 100 VERY BEST RESTAURANTS
THE SCENE. Step through the carved wooden entrance, swap your shoes for a pair of soft black slippers, and enter another world–smaller, quieter, more ethereal, a jewel box of a restaurant with efficient, doting service presided over by sushi master Takashi Okamura.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. Okamura's devotion to sourcing his fish, resulting in glistening, beautifully cut sashimi that's without peer in the area. Rarities abound, like a slab of fatty yellowtail–buttery, smooth, unsurpassingly rich. The tasting menu is controlled and masterly, comprising ten small courses that go well beyond sushi and sashimi: beautifully picked vegetables, robustly flavored soups, elegant fishcakes, sculpted portions of succulent and delicately embroidered meats and fishes. The drink to have with this artful repast is a bottle of cold, unfiltered sake.
WHAT YOU WON'T. Veer from the $49 omakase tasting menu–a legitimate deal–and you'll pay dearly. But it's hard not to veer–and frankly, you may not be full enough to resist splurging for extra sushi, which is often exorbitantly priced. Service, while gracious, can drift into an awkward, geishalike obeisance, and seating in the spare doll's house is so cramped that you're likely to spend your night whispering to one another.
BEST DISHES. The omakase tasting menu; strips of sweet broiled eel over rice; miso soup so rich and full of depth it makes the stuff you're used to seem like dishwater; sashimi of yellowtail, fatty yellowtail, toro, scallop, and giant clam, all in pristine condition.