The closest I’ll probably ever come to dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro’s restaurant in Japan, I ain’t even mad that I spent $31 on ten pieces of Nigiri and one Miso Soup.
Okay, yes it stings a little but this is what happens when two bloggers come together on a Wednesday night – things start to get a little outta control and decisions are made that can’t be unmade.
Bamboozling is the only real way to coerce someone into being your friend and after several long weeks, I got him. The poor sucker never even saw it coming.
A tiny unassuming hole in the wall, Xavier* and I stepped into Shima-Ya to real live Japanese people serving us fish so fresh it might still have been breathing.
(*Name has been changed to protect privacy and safety of individual, but mostly has been changed under threat of death by individual in question.)
A menu consisting of essentially zero cooked items but oh so many raw foods, it is crushingly difficult for me to decide. In the end, I take the decision out of my hands by diving head first into the Omakase. A miso soup and chef’s choice of ten nigiri – life is a beach and I’m playing in the sand.
Dare I say it? I dare.
11 out of 10 for the miso. I can’t think of a single complaint and you can be sure that’s saying something for this crusty old witch.
Ultra savoury and scattered with perfect sized tofu bites and seaweed, miso happy.
When the star of the show arrives fresh to death, the question becomes, “Which nigiri to tackle first? And which to save for the very last??”
A fun array of colours, this proves to be a more daunting task than anticipated with selections such as Tamago, Red Snapper, Toro, Squid, Saba Mackerel, Ebi, Amaebi, Hotate Scallop, Hokkigai Surf Clam, and Uni.
Fresh fresh fresh. All of it.
But if I had my back up against a wall with a gun to my head and I had to pick the losers of the bunch, the two weakest links would have to be the tamago and ebi.
Tamago on account of being not fish at all and therefore the cheapest and ebi because it always this tendency to be rubbery and uninteresting with no real taste.
Squid has a lovely gooey texture that bites back, and the amaebi stays firm with its delicate sweetness while the red snapper has a delightfully fishy taste that lights my tastebuds on fire with something close to magic.
Sweet uni of mine, once you’ve had gonad, you never go back and after tonight, I’m never going back.
A new way of life for me, would I return to Shima-ya?
Yes, so much yes. My simple meal at $31 is pricier than I would have liked but you don’t come across a gem like this every day.
Unlicensed and therefore without sapporo or sake, all my winos may weep, but trust me when I say Shima is worth it. So so worth it.