Monday, 4 March 2013


Oh the disappointment. We won't be dining at Jiro. After a day of negotiating with staff at the Monterey to get them to make a reservation we decided to go to Sukiyibashi Jiro ourselves and try and get in. I couldn't quite figure out why they wouldn't even try to make a reservation for us. Usually hotel staff will make restaurant reservations as par for the course.

Jiro is probably one of the oldest sushi chefs still working. He is 86. He is regarded to be, if not the best, one of the best 2 or 3 sushi chefs in the world. His restaurant, Sukiyibashi Jiro, has been awarded 3 Michelin stars for as long as Michelin stars have been handed out in Tokyo. A documentary, Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, was made a couple of years ago about the man and his restaurant. It is one of the finest documentaries I've seen and has won a number of awards. The movie is out and out sushi porn. Long lingering shots of sushi lovingly prepared by Jiro. Go track down a copy and watch it. You don't have to particularly interested in sushi to watch it. It is a just a great documentary.

Jiro serves the sushi at his own pace. I've heard you can be in and out of his restaurant in as little as 25 minutes. That 25 minute sushi feast will cost you around 30,000 yen or close to 300 bucks if you're lucky enough to get in. One reviewer noted the time each piece of sushi (eg. 7.01, 7.05, 7.09 etc) was served and he was done in a leisurely 37 minutes.

After a bit of searching through and around Ginza station we finally found Jiro's Sushi bar tucked away in a corner of a basement next to Ginza station. From the outside it looked quite nondescript considering the reputation of the place. We knocked on the door and Jiro's son, I recognised him from the movie, gestured to us to wait and he got one of the kitchen staff to come out to us. The kitchen hand was a friendly young guy who explained to us that they were booked out till April. The only we could get a reservation anyway was through our hotel. Well, except for our hotel apparently. It is on the banned list. Jiro won't accept reservations via the Monterey. They did the wrong thing a couple of years ago and it hasn't been forgotten.  He said that there were couple of hotels they have a good relationship we could stay at next time. He also said we could try Jiro Roppongi. Jiro Roppongi is owned and run by Jiro's other son and is over in, obviously, Roppongi. Anyway that explained the reluctance of the hotel staff to make a booking. So we had little or no real chance of getting a reservation. Disappointing.
Jiro is in this picture... somewhere.

We did get to see Jiro though. He even nodded to me as he walked by on his way to the dunny, which was out in the arcade. Not in the arcade itself. That would be weird. And unhygienic. The bathroom was off the arcade. A shared one for all the tenants of the arcade. I think I've spent too long explaining this.

Speaking of tenants, across the arcade from Jiro is Birdland. Another Michelin starred restaurant. I believe they specialise in yakatori. I thought it was a Jazz place but the keeper of the Michelin Guide, Michelle, put me straight. I'd be pretty clueless about where and how to eat anywhere without Michelle's research. We'll try and go to Birdland at some point.

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