The living in Japan equivalent of making lemonade out of lemons is to treat yourself to sushi. No matter how bad a day or a week you’ve had, plonk a bowl of chirashi or a nigiri selection in front of you and you’ll find your problems immediately start to dissipate. Such is the magic of Japan.
While I don’t really advocate anyone avoiding life’s problems through food, lunch at Sushi no Midori in Akasaka is an exception purely for its uncanny ability to turn the 悪い into the 笑う. I first heard of Sushi no Midori from my Tokyo-based uncle who had in turn, heard many great things about their Shibuya outlet. It’s known for very high quality sashimi and portions at wallet-friendly prices. We first tried to go back in 2018 with my mom in tow (when she was in town) and realised not only was there an incredible queue outside, but the ticket machine was broken which means you couldn’t quite saunter away and come back when they called you. You had to wait it out. Another time, a Sydney friend was in Tokyo on holidays and claimed she waited 3 hours for her turn. This spot was clearly an institution amongst both locals and tourists alike.
If the above do not suffice as life hacks, here is one for you. For a weekend lunch, we waited a grand total of 0 minutes for a seat at the Akasaka outlet. Granted, after hearing the above horror stories – I made sure we went around 11 am for an early-ish meal, shortly after the restaurant had opened for the day. Thanks to global circumstances as well, we don’t really have many travellers coming through Tokyo right now which may have contributed to the slower demand. But in any chance, Akasaka is definitely more off-beat than Shibuya so I do imagine it still faces a smaller crowd even during business as usual times.
But to the food – does it really live up to the hype of the last three paragraphs? I’ll leave these pictures for you to decide.
We opt to share a plate of いわし刺し iwashi sashimi to whet our appetite. I’d seen photos of these on their website and while reality was slightly smaller and less plump, it was as tasty as I had hoped it would be. I love maki rolls that are stuffed with fish and having one that didn’t even contain rice felt like a win for preserving my tiny stomach space.
Taking centre stage for lunch is my order of the 特選美登利ちらし special midori chirashi bowl. It’s truly as abundant in real life as it looks in photos with everything I love in one bowl. There’s ribbons of thick salmon belly, salmon roe, sea urchin, tamagoyaki, scallops, ネギトロ minced tuna and 数の子 preserved herring roe. Factor in the grilled ango, draped across a la Marilyn Monroe and you really couldn’t ask for more from a seafood meal. Everything was incredibly fresh with lots of bright notes.
No less impressive is the 特上にぎり special nigiri set which is quite a bargain for being under 2,000 yen for all of this sushi. Emi thinks the hallmark of a good sushiya is one that can perfect the humble 鉄火巻 tekkamaki tuna roll and he gave his seal of approval for this one. Both sets come with piping hot and smooth 茶碗蒸し egg custard which all together should do more than satiate even the biggest of eaters.
If you’re craving something warm, don’t say no to the clam based miso soup which is incredibly generous on the seafood front.
I’m just coming to the second half of one of the hardest work weeks of my life. I had this post queuing for such a long time but I’m glad I was able to carve out some time to finish it. Just in time for another visit to Sushi no Midori I think, to happily-yet-sadly drown myself in tasty, tasty raw fish.