I have a friend from Japan named Sony Suzuki. Yes, that’s his real name! And he has no association with either company. Well, I don’t think so. He’s so humble and awesome that he probably started both of them.
Anyway, he invited my son and I to his famous sushi restaurant in Tokyo called Kumagai Kuon. I’ve eaten a lot of amazing sushi in my life, but this was the best, by far! Even my son, Ethan (16), who has quite the hamburger-centric palette was overwhelmed and ate every single bite.
I realized, after I had sat down, that I had been here once before with two gentlemen from Google when I was here years ago to give a speech at their HQ. I didn’t think I’d ever come back to such a place, since I thought this was only frequented by Google executives and royalty. But I was back, and man o man, was I excited.
The Master Craftsman and my son Ethan
There are no “menus” in these places, you see. It’s called Omakase or “trust the chef”.
Whenever there is a situation where you can trust the chef, I always trust the chef. I eat anything. Anything. I am happy I’ve reached Level 10 of 10 when eating where I can be happy and enthusiastic about any kind of food. I still have ADULT friends who are Level 3, Level 4, etc, and they just don’t eat certain things because of some reason this or that. My wife is vegan; she would not have trusted the chef. It’s fine, you vegans, do whatever you want. It doesn’t bother me. But wow, you are really missing out on indulging in the food chain at this place.
This kitchen and restaurant was built especially for this chef. It only sat eight people. There were six people dining at different times this evening along with me and Ethan. There was some famous television guy beside me with a really beautiful flight attendant and then two other women that were busy chatting to one another about work or something. I don’t know. My son knows some Japanese so he filled me in later on all their office politics. But everyone was nice. And the gentleman beside me bought me his favorite sake drink and presented his card in the most gracious possible manner.
Speaking of sake, Sony-san has this place filled up with some of the best dry sake from all over Japan. Much of it isn’t even sold publicly. They have to drive around and get it from small family distilleries and the like. I thought almost all sake tasted more or less the same until I came here. But I didn’t have too much sake, as I wanted to keep my wits about me to enjoy the 15+ courses of food!
Dry Sake Tasting
The chef himself was very gracious and a true artist. Before the meal, I pulled Ethan aside and suggested that he might really enjoy watch the elegance with which a true chef moves. When guys go out together, they often don’t talk much. This is a strange thing for women to understand, but it’s true. Sometimes they talk a lot; sometimes almost nothing. But, this gives a great opportunity for guys like me and Ethan just to watch the chef hone his art. Even the way that he moves the knife across a vegetable is like a tiny Cirque de Soliel.
Real Wasabi Root and Traditional Shark Skin Grater
Below are most of the things that were served to me. I forgot a few. I put a few captions below to explain what they are. Or, at least, in my very bad translation. I’m pretty close in most cases. Anyway, Sony did not ask me to take photos or anything; I just did this because I was so excited by the meal and experience! Some of these photos were taken with the A7r Mark 3 (See the Sony A7r Mark 3 Review here) and the others with the Pixel 2 (read the Google Pixel 2 Review here). I bet you can’t tell the difference!
Round 1 – Flounder + Wasabi + Rock Salt
Round 2 – Japanese Flyer Fish + Leeks + Liver
Round 3 – Seared Yellowtail + Spicy Raddish
Round 4 – Seared Seabass Nigiri
Round 5 – Soy Marinated Tuna Nigiri
Round 6 – Half Beak Nigiri
Round 7 – Squid sashimi + Horseradish + White Onion
Round 8 – Octopus Head + Seaweed + Fish Eggs
Round 9 – Tiger Prawn Nigiri
Round 10 – Tempura Hokkaido Ice Fish
Round 11 – Sea Urchin Nigiri
Round 12 – Gindara Fish
Round 13 – Fatty Tuna Nigiri
Round 14 – Seawater Eel Nigiri
Anyway, it’s the best sushi in Tokyo. If you’re there, treat yourself!