くわ野 Sushi Kuwano – Ginza

I love sushi, and I always wondered what the Michelin Star Sushi experience is like.  I got that chance when I went to くわ野 Sushi Kuwano in Ginza on my trip to Tokyo.

On one of the sidestreets next to the Toy Park in Ginza, Kuwano is located there, and as it is in Japan a lot of times, difficult to find.

img_0360Look hard enough and you will see the front of the building it is located in. img_0362 And the sign will tell you it’s on the third floor.img_0361Great fun!

The place is small, it only seats 8, but they are so warm and inviting.  As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by name and sat down.

The master Sushi Chef Kuwano-san introduced himself, asked if I wanted Omakase and if there was anything I did not eat.  All in broken english – good enough to communicate, but not great.

img_0363I ordered the Omakase and his wife came by to take my jacket and my drink order.

The table setting contains a blue plate, which is for the appetizer section of the omakase, and contains two towels.  One for the hands and face, while the one on top is for your fingers, so that you can eat your sushi by hand.

img_0390Kuwano-san has to be good, because he has to remember where his diners are at in their progression.  And he tried to get me going to match up a little while he had the chance.

Here we go!

We started off with some Tuna, braised for awhile and the smoked.

img_0364This is a Ginger Bulb, cut up, with some fresh wasabi.  Kuwano-san uses only fresh wasabi which he grates off to the side. img_0365Next were some Mountain Greens served with a smoke bonito on top. img_0366Some sashimi to follow, in this case it’s Buri. img_0367 Kuwano-san is working away.  You can see the fresh wasabi on the working table.img_0371A fresh oyster from Kyushu poached in an oyster broth with Japanese pepper. img_0368Some Aji.  img_0369And then freshly steamed Abalone from Hokkaido with Salt, Citrus Peel and Japanese lime. img_0372Kuwano-san explained this as Green-Eyed fish, a deep sea fish.  This is deep fried.  It is a nice meaty fish, which melts in your mouth. img_0374 And closing out the appetizer section is some Tako.img_03759 courses to start, and then here comes the sushi!

First up was Hirame.  Kuwano-san will tell you how to eat it, whether or not to dip it in Soy Sauce or not.

img_0376Next is Kohada. img_0377Chutoro.  Yum. img_0378Otoro.  Yummier! img_0379 This one I was not sure about.  It’s something wrapped in a leaf.img_0380 Kurama Ebi.  It was quite flavorful, poached to perfection.img_0381 Uni.  Fresh from Hokkaido he said.img_0382 Akagai, or Red Clam.  Kuwano-san explained that it was in season now, so the meat was at it’s sweetest.  And yes it was!img_0383 Ikura.img_0384A short stop with some pickled radish and citrus zest.  This was unexpectedly awesome to me.  Balancing out all the flavors. img_0385This set it up for Baby Snapper wrapped with radish. img_0386Anago.  He grilled this on the spot and served it up. img_0387 Ika.  He explained that Ika should only be eaten with Salt and Japanese Lime as to bring out the taste of the Squid.  It should never be dipped in Soy Sauce.img_0388Tarako, which is Cod Roe, rolled into a roll with cucumber and sesame. img_0389And some Tamago to finish it off.  This Tamago was almost custardy, unlike some that I have had which is airy and eggy.  This was more of a cake. img_039124 courses total.  At this point Kuwano-san asked if I wanted anything more.  In his display case there were items which I didn’t eat yet, so I asked him to give me some of it.

The first was the Hotate.img_0392And then some Hamaguri Clam. img_0393All of these items were fresh, he had gotten them this morning at Tsujiki.

To round it out, some Miso Soup with Clams.img_0395 What an outstanding meal.  Not only that, but inside the others sitting were also talking with each other, helping out with Japanese and English.  It was really just a great time sitting and talking with the other diners and Kuwano-san.img_0396 In the end, he gave a small gift for coming.img_0398I am going to remember this one for a long time.  It was just a great and fantastic experience, made better by a great conversation with Kuwano-san and others.  The price is up there, 30,000 Yen for the Omakase, but, it’s worth the experience and adventure.  Do it!

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