Sushi Saito Hong Kong – Dinner Omakase
Sushi Saito in Tokyo has lengthy been considered top-of-the-line sushi restaurant on the earth. It ranks primary on Japan’s widespread Tabelog (user-rated) web site, and it has its justifiable share of accolades (Three Michelin stars, 26th on World’s 50 Greatest, and so forth.).
Sushi Saito can be probably the most unique eating places. It’s just about unattainable to get a reservation on the restaurant except in case you are an current buyer, or you’re launched by an current buyer. You may’t simply ask your lodge concierge in Japan to request a reservation in your behalf. Sushi Saito requires a private referral from a previous buyer, ideally a daily.
For that reason, Sushi Saito has been elevated to a cult-like, unattainable standing, a bucket-list merchandise that many sushi lovers obsess over and dream about endlessly.
Think about the uproar and fervor that arose when information got here out in late 2017 that Sushi Saito was planning to open up a second location in Hong Kong, in partnership with the World Hyperlink Restaurant Group.
Instantly, questions started flying round.
How do you get a reservation? Do it is advisable to even have a pal refer you?
Reservations appeared just about unattainable to acquire. Cellphone calls to the 4 Seasons solely led to referrals to an electronic mail tackle, which courteously responded by merely stating “Sushi Saito shouldn’t be taking any new reservations in the meanwhile.” It gave the impression to be true that you just wanted a reference to somebody who had gone to Sushi Saito Tokyo earlier than, or at the least had dined at considered one of World Hyperlink’s different eating places, Ta Vie or Tenku Ryugin.
Certainly, we finally bought our reservation a number of months later by a pal who labored at Sushi Saito.
In contrast to Sushi Saito’s extra understated workplace constructing location in Tokyo, Sushi Saito in Hong Kong is situated on the 45th flooring of the 4 Seasons, probably the most prestigious addresses in all of Hong Kong. It rubs shoulders with the likes of Lung King Heen (Three Michelin starred Cantonese) and Caprice (2 Michelin starred French).
The restaurant has two separate sushi bars, every with eight seats. Chef Kobayashi and Chef Fujimoto (pictured above) run the 2 sushi bars. Each labored at Sushi Saito in Tokyo for years earlier than shifting to Hong Kong to open this new location.
The omakase is the one possibility. Lunch omakase is HK$1,480 plus 10% service cost. This contains about two appetizers and ten items of sushi, tamago, and miso soup. Dinner omakase is HK$3,280 plus 10% service cost. This contains 5-6 appetizers, ten items of sushi, tamago (candy egg omelet), a maki roll, and miso soup.
Each morning Saito-san himself goes to Tsukiji Fish Market and picks out the day’s cuts of fish, that are shipped same-day to the Hong Kong location. Each the Tokyo and the Hong Kong places serve an identical menus and use an identical components, right down to the soy sauce, rice, and extra salts, sauces, and “toppings”. Every thing is shipped from Japan. The objective is to supply close to an identical experiences at each places.
We loved a particularly enjoyable and light-hearted night with Chef Fujimoto. He’s humorous, extroverted, and places everybody comfy. He joked continuously all through the meal, and wasn’t shy about posing for pictures. I used to be fairly impressed along with his efforts to be taught not solely English (he’s fairly good at that), but in addition Mandarin Chinese language and Cantonese. He fluidly switched between 4 languages (the final being Japanese, after all) whereas describing varied items of fish to completely different clients.
Right here’s the dinner omakase!
Our meal began with a heat appetizer (otsumami) of seasonal Hokkaido furry crab. The claw meat was positioned on prime of shredded meat. The crab was contemporary, candy, and tender. It was a stunning technique to begin the meal.
The subsequent course consisted of two completely different items. Although they seem easy, a lot work had been completed to attain the tender textures and candy flavors. The Kyushu abalone was steamed for six hours after which merely served with a facet of dipping salt. The flavour of the abalone was excellent (top-of-the-line I’ve ever had), and the feel was good. It was smooth, but nonetheless retained a little bit of stress and springiness. It jogged my memory why I had fallen in love with abalone once I first skilled it many years in the past.
The octopus was fantastically smooth and tender, and we loved it with only a dab of freshly grated wasabi. I didn’t ask, however my guess is that the octopus had been massaged for fairly a while to attain that stage of tenderness.
The subsequent course was a nori wrapped tairagai, or Japanese pen shell. It’s the adductor muscle, just like scallop, however has a firmer texture and extra intense taste. I discovered the feel of this cooked piece to be a bit more durable than I personally most popular. It had numerous taste, however I needed for softer texture.
We then began a enjoyable examine of three several types of uni. We began with Bafun uni, the orange, creamy one on the left of the plate. This uni is characterised by small spikes. I discovered this one to be creamy and candy.
Our subsequent one was Murasaki, usually characterised by lengthy spikes. That is the extra yellow uni on the underside proper facet of the plate. This one had a lighter taste and fewer creamy texture, however was nonetheless scrumptious in a really completely different approach.
Lastly, we tried Aka uni (prime) from town of Karatsu in Saga prefecture. This explicit uni was seasonable and solely accessible through the summer time. It was fascinating to attempt three collectively in such quick succession to actually tease aside the flavour and textural variations.
I don’t normally love Ankimo, or monkfish liver, however this Ankimo from Hokkkaido served with a yuzu ponzu sauce was out of this world. I feel the brilliant floral citrus notes from the yuzu actually balanced out the wealthy, creaminess from the ankimo properly. Truthfully, I completely beloved this course, which is saying loads contemplating I normally don’t care that a lot for this course.
Our last appetizer was Nodokuro, a seared piece of sea bream served with pickled daikon and shredded daikon. The dish was properly designed, with the 2 varieties of daikon balancing out the wealthy but tremendous tender fish very well.
We began the sushi portion of the meal with karei, or flounder, which is simply accessible in summer time. I fell in love with the rice. It was simply barely heat, had a pleasant al dente chunk, and was flavored good with a gentle purple vinegar.
The subsequent chunk was kinmedai or golden eye snapper. In my enjoyment of the meal, I truly forgot to take a photograph of this piece (!), although you possibly can see the slices whereas they had been being ready within the photograph above. They’re the pink items with purple pores and skin on the precise facet.
Subsequent got here akami or tuna from Wakayama, a area of Japan south of Kyoto and Osaka. The tuna was gloriously smooth and tender. I discovered it a tad on the salty facet, although the feel of your entire chunk was good.
Subsequent we had otoro, fatty tuna, additionally from Wakayama. The flavour was stunning, although I used to be distracted by the stringy piece of sinew operating by the fish. It wasn’t till later that I discovered that Chef Saito chooses that portion of the fish on function as a result of he believes the sinew has extra umami. Personally, I’ll choose a bit with out the sinew, however I’ve by no means completed a facet by facet comparability of taste.
The ika (squid), was pretty, with the precise slightly-al-dente-but-not-rubbery texture. I additionally beloved the aji (jack mackerel) from Kagoshima, which was completely balanced with its fatty flesh and herb “pesto” on prime.
I feel my favourite uni of all was this fourth sort, yet one more bafun uni from Hokkaido, which was luxuriously creamy, candy, and simply good throughout.
I don’t at all times get pleasure from kuruma ebi, however this one was glorious. It was cooked simply sufficient to retain the shrimp’s pure sweetness and bouncy texture. The hamagrui (clam) was completely unbelievable. The feel was spot on, and I beloved the brightness from the yuzu zest that was shaved on prime. Sorry there’s no photograph for this one both.
The anago (sea eel) was extra savory than candy, missing the thick darkish candy sauce that usually goes on prime of this piece. It was good, however I choose the sweeter variations I’ve had at different prime sushi eating places in Japan.
I knew that with the anago (which is usually like a pre-dessert because it’s just a little candy), the top was coming quickly. Certain sufficient, Chef Fujimoto began engaged on a thick futomaki roll. Inside was eel, shrimp, cucumber, egg, and kampyo (a kind of gourd). The roll was good, although not fairly as earth-shattering as the sooner items had been.
This was served with tamago, or egg omelet. The egg omelet is at all times considered one of my favourite programs, and this one was glorious and on par with those you’d discover at prime Japanese sushiyas.
At this level the meal is over except if you’d like further items. Chef Fujimoto requested us all if we needed a hand-roll. Sometimes I’ll say no to further items since I’m normally fairly full. Nevertheless, for some motive, perhaps as a result of I used to be at Sushi Saito, or perhaps as a result of I had seen Chef Fujimoto chopping up chunks of toro and akami, I made a decision to go for it.
Chef Fujimoto made a beneficiant hand roll full of chopped akami (tuna), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), otoro (fatty tuna), negi (scallions), goma (sesame seeds), and takuan (pickled radish). It was soooo good. I beloved how the candy, barely tart, and crunchy pickled radish balanced out the wealthy fish. It was stunning. At a worth of just about $50 USD per hand roll (sure, loopy!), it higher be price it.
We ended with a easy miso soup with child clams. It was clear, gentle, and a pleasant technique to finish the meal.
We’re not sake consultants, so we relied on the restaurant’s suggestions for sake. I very a lot loved the sake, particularly our first bottle (pictured at left), Katsuyama Junmai Daiginjo “Akatsuki,” a fantastically complicated junmai daiginjo sake from the Akita prefecture that went very well with our sushi.
Cheers! Pictured: Chef Kenichi Fujimoto, Restaurant Supervisor Gavin Ho, and us!
Basic Impressions – Sushi Saito Hong Kong
Wow. What a meal.
I actually, actually loved our meal at Sushi Saito Hong Kong. No query it’s positively top-of-the-line sushi meals in Hong Kong and on par with the very best in Tokyo. I beloved the rice particularly – the marginally heat temperature, the balanced vinegar, and the al dente texture. The fish was prime notch. I beloved just about each piece (save a pair with which I had minor quibbles). Typically, it was actually a superb meal.
One can not assist however examine with the opposite three-Michelin starred sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Sushi Shikon (or Yoshitake in Tokyo). I nonetheless assume Shikon/Yoshitake has extra fascinating and extra spectacular appetizers. Sushi Saito appears to focus extra on bringing out the pure flavors within the fish. He tries to not add or modify an excessive amount of. At most, he balances the fish out or enhances it with a splash of taste. Alternatively, Sushi Shikon/Yoshitake has extra artistic and distinctive dishes just like the abalone liver and liver sauce or the 2-year aged uni with contemporary uni.
Briefly, I feel I choose the nigiri sushi at Saito, however I choose the appetizers at Shikon/Yoshitake. We truly discovered that Shikon makes use of costlier rice than Saito. Nevertheless, I choose the feel and temperature of the rice at Sushi Saito. I assume worth doesn’t at all times equate with desire, at the least in my case!
Reservations require a non-refundable deposit and require a lot advance reserving. Presently they’re booked out at the least a month or extra, relying on which sushi chef you request.
As I discussed above, it is extremely tough to get a reservation straight by chilly calling the lodge or restaurant. You probably have to be launched by somebody who has already been there. Let’s hope that this adjustments over time in order that extra individuals may have a possibility to get pleasure from Sushi Saito Hong Kong.
Sushi Saito Hong Kong
4 Seasons Lodge
eight Finance Road
Central, HONG KONG
Tsukiji Fish Market Public sale