Traditional Sushi Master

Satoshi-san preparing ankimo

Preparing ankimo for customer

Where I live, we are fortunate to have a sushi chef who is a true master itamae. Trained and certified in Tokyo, as were his father and grandfather, his modesty prevents him from claiming to be a master. But his food speaks with the force of an ocean.

When you enter his sushi bar, the first thing you notice is that nothing really grabs your attention. No striking decoration, no ostentatious displays of grandeur, no nightclub glitz. The decor says relax, Japanese food and drink awaits you. The sushi chef is in the middle of the place, literally. The kitchen is to his back, evidenced by the cut out wall section to hand hot dishes through. The main dining area is in front, facing him. Wait staff service area to his right, customer entrance and waiting area to his left.

Satoshi-san wears a starched white uniform that stays remarkably clean, like his kitchen and work area. He makes his own rice before each shift ensuring the proper seasoning, cooling and vinegaring. He spends an inordinate amount of time selecting his seafood, always looking for better quality and the seasonal specialties he knows should be available. Like a chessmaster who has methodically laid the groundwork for an irresistable attack, Satoshi-san knows the battle is already half over even before the first customer walks in the door.

You know exactly what to expect when you dine at this restaurant, and that’s what makes it so great. His philosophy is based on striving for the best possible execution of superior techniques. This belief system starts with the notion that best practices have been constructed by masters over the centuries. To be a great sushi chef therefore requires learning them and practicing, until flawless execution is second nature.

Does this sound stodgy to you? Consider then that you can come eat here, and if you’re accustomed to the mediocrity offered by most sushibars in the US, you’ll get a meal that really does taste better. Now pay attention, because here’s the kicker: what makes it great is that you can come back next week and the food will be just as great. Consistently superior sushi quality is the primary goal. How can you go wrong with that kind of results-oriented style?

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  • gaijinlife says:

    really wonderful post! love the writing style and I must say it did opened up my appetite. I really would live to try this sushi bar taking your word for granted that the time and quality put in those sushi would be the same as in Japan

  • Patti says:

    I agree! Kobayashi-san’s handcraft sushi is really impressive. I always enjoy going to Daimatsu and know that I’ll get the best sushi taste I used to eat in Japan. Thanks for you hard work and your work ethic, Kobayashi-san. Gambare!!!

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