Food Hall & Restaurants

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2018.02.28

Vol. 6 Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime - Experience the skills of master artisans at a long-established Edo-styled sushi restaurant

Ginza Mitsukoshi 11th Floor Ginza Dining Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime Ginza Mitsukoshi Store

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Sushi-the star of Japanese cuisine. When traveling to the birthplace of this beloved food, it's only natural to want to find a restaurant serving only the best.

Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime is a sushi restaurant situated in Ginza-an area of Tokyo renowned for its high-priced real estate and luxurious stores. To open a sushi restaurant in Ginza must surely be an indication of offering only the best to its customers.

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Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime was co-founded by a wholesale fish dealer (with a history stretching back over 80 years) and a 3rd generation master sushi chef. The restaurant prides itself in offering exquisite fish prepared to perfection by using a wide variety of techniques including simmering, steaming, marinating, and searing.

Unlike many high-class sushi restaurants, all ingredients are clearly listed in the menu. The transparent price system takes the worry out of exactly how much your first sushi experience in Ginza is going to cost.

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The head sushi chef of Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime, the first store opened at a luxurious department store from the group is Mr. Naoyuki Kimura.

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The restaurant provides seating (20) purposefully designed to surround the food preparation area. The cozy and private atmosphere is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the superb techniques of the sushi chefs.

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Mr. Kimura prepares the sushi with smooth and fluid precision, each piece depicting an artfully curved fan shape that typifies the most authentic form of this Japanese delicacy. Mr. Kimura shares with us his secret. "I aim for a textural balance between soft and firm so each piece gently melts in the mouth."

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Sushi chefs also pay close attention to the temperature of their hands. In order to prevent their hands from becoming too warm (and hence, warming up the ingredients), they dip their hands in a liquid called tesu (literally, 'hand vinegar'), which is water mixed with a very small amount of vinegar. Depending on the temperature that day, or even his physical condition, Mr. Kimura will sometimes place ice in the tesu to adjust the temperature of the palms of his hands.

The sushi rice, called sumeshi, is stored in a special wooden container that typically keeps the rice at around body temperature (considered ideal for sushi). Mr. Kimura further explains, "The container is made of Sawara Cypress, which ideally absorbs the moisture of the sumeshi."

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Wasabi (a kind of horseradish) and Gari (pickled ginger) are two staple condiments served with sushi. Mr. Kimura shared why these two are always served together. "Wasabi is said to be effective at eliminating poisons. Gari cleanses the palate and removes any fishy odors that might remain."

A great restaurant always appreciates customers who know how to eat their dishes the right way. Here we show you how to eat sushi properly so you can enjoy its taste to the fullest. The procedure here covers how to eat sushi by dipping in soy sauce. (Note that Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime typically serves its dishes ready-seasoned, in keeping with the Edo-style tradition they so highly value.)

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Slightly tilt the sushi and dip the fish in the soy sauce.

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It is recommended to dip in a little more soy sauce for fattier varieties (such as tuna belly) than for the less-fatty varieties (such as white fish, or squid).

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The order to eat sushi is also important. For example, it's always good practice to start with the lighter/subtler flavors (such as white fish). This way, you can enjoy the full breadth of flavors available as you go along.

Lastly, we will introduce the most popular items available on the Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime menu.

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Saikyo no Sandaime - Top of Tsukiji 11pic - ¥5,100 (excluding tax)

The set represents the chef's recommended 10 pieces of the day, including an egg roll and tuna seaweed roll. The highlight here is that for the 11th piece, you are free to choose ANY item that is available on the day. Mr. Kimura says "Customers have been known to order other dishes, such as kaisendon (seafood bowl), and share it with their friends.

*The sushi ingredients available vary depending on the day.

"Nothing pleases me more than to see repeat customers." Mr. Kimura says. "My wish is for my customers to eat and have a good time. And, of course, eat as much as they like!" The store had a warm and relaxing atmosphere, as befits Mr. Kimura's welcoming personality. On your next visit to Japan, make it point to check out Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime and savor Edo-style sushi made to perfection by top-class sushi chefs.

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