When it comes to Japan’s most famous dish, I have to admit that I’m a man of simple pleasure and taste. I’m just as happy with the cheap family-style places (and all their bastardised sushi plates!) as I am with the more sophisticated places serving up the more traditional style. Sure, I can tell the difference between them but not enough to justify paying the vast difference in price.
The cheapest of the chain restaurants offer plates of sushi for ¥90 (2 pieces) on weekdays and there are standing sushi bars selling plates (1 piece) for ¥70, possibly even ¥50. However, a few months ago a friend sent me this video from YouTuber Charlyjapan who makes short two minute movies about daily life in Japan. He vlogged about a place where one can purchase sushi for as little as ¥10!
Keen to check this place out, Scottish Neil, Jack (a.k.a. Rambling Northerner) and I decided to pay it a visit after we had finished watching the the B1-B2 basketball play off final recently. Having been drinking all afternoon in a fairly dark arena we needed some fresh air afterwards and so walking through Meiji Shrine to the Yoyogi station area proved to be quite a good idea. I don’t frequent Yoyogi that much so it brought back memories of when I used to work at a school near the station back in 2010. The restaurant doesn’t actually have a name and is just a minute away (1-35-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku) from the station and a short distance from the Cambodian restaurant ‘Angkor Wat’ (which I went to in 2012)!
Unfortunately the ¥10 tuna deal featured in the aforementioned video was a thing of the past, but there was still ¥10 sushi on offer. Presumably it’s some kind of alternating deal and when we dined out at this place it was kohada (spotted sardine or something like that!) which was fine with me but not for Jack who once had a bad experience of it.
The guy behind us in the bar had ordered about twenty of these and nothing else at all. Sadly, none of us could read kanji well enough to understand all the sushi items which don the walls. Luckily, we could read the hiragana ones, take a chance on other cheap ones and just order staples like salmon and tuna which are always on any sushi menu. We started with some of the ¥10 pieces, and a few others including inari sushi (sushi rice wrapped inside seasoned deep-fried tofu pockets) which were only ¥30 a pop.
The narrow interior is very simple and just about a step up from the Vending Machine stand Jack and I dined out after the Japan Cup horse racing event back in November last year. The catch is that you have to order one drink each but at around 500 yen for a beer I really didn’t see that as too much of a stumbling block for avoiding the place.
Ultimately we probably fell into “the trap” and ordered more and more dishes albeit the cheap ones but a few more expensive ones always creep into the orders somewhere. We were only there for about 30 minutes (which is probably longer than average!) and with one beer each the total bill for the three of us came to a pretty impressive ¥3,300.
For more sushi click here to read ‘Dining Out: Minayoshi (Osaka)’