Service: shy but extremely attentive and kind
Equipment & Facilities: overall very clean. Excellent washroom. Non-smoking private room possible
Prices: reasonable (that is for true sushi!)
Strong points: Sushi mainly created with local seafood. 3-year old wasabi root exclusively used. Grilled and deep-fried fish, tempura. Excellent list of sake and shochu.
Chef Kenta Birukawa/尾留川健太親方！
Kenta Birukawa opened Sushi Shokunin Birukawa last July after a long time spent as the main chef of Sushi Ko in Aoba Park Street, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City for the pleasure of his many fans including your servant.
It is located near Komagata Street which is being completely renovated with the addition of high-rise mansions which promises a flow of affluent customers to all the establishments who decided to stay or move recently!
Whatever his skills a chef builds his reputation on his/her choice of ingredients.
Kenta always has enough live local fish in his aquarium tank along with products chosen on a daily base through his many contacts in local and national ports. And when it comes to wasabi, even the op restaurants in Tokyo or Kyoto do not come near to equal him as he exclusively uses roots grown for three years in the mountains of Utogi, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka Ciy, the very location where the first wasabi were grown for their roots in the beginning of the 17th Century.
The wasabi is grated a little at a time before being served on each plate or sushi!
Incidentally Kenta and his little jewel of a mother are from Akita Prefecture as can be noted on the tea cups and the noren/entrance curtain to the kitchen! Apparently Shizuoka City is very popular with denizens of Akita Prefecture as they have formed their own association in our city!
It was actually our first visit as we knew the place would be too crowded during the first two months, and still is, so you had better call first or reserve in advance!
The tone was set with the o-toshi/snack coming with first drink consisting of succulent whelks!
A small board is shown and circulated among the customers to inform them of the special fish and seafood of the day, a very useful and practical way when it comes to sashimi or cooked fish!
As for drinks there is much to choose from among the sake, comprising many local ones (expect more not featured on the list!), wine and soft drinks!
And do not forget the shochu and the beer!
As for individual sushi the prices are clearly stated. You can also discuss your budget directly with Kenta without any worries. He will also gladly accommodates your special orders not featured on menus. Just keep on eye on what the regulars order!
Another big plus the rice is steamed in small bunches, and if you are lucky enough he will prepare it in front of your very eyes!
Kenta has his own recipe which includes a mixture of 90% usual rice wine with 10% of red rice wine as demonstrated above! Not many restaurants will go to the pains of such explanations with their customers, so do not forget your camera!
Not including the kitchen hidden by the noren/entrance curtain to prevent kitchen odors to bother customers the restaurant is a model of a clever use of the limited space with the inclusion of a Japanese-made grill/salamander!
Guests can see how their own fish is being cooked!
“White-grilled” (no sauce basted on fish) conger eel in our case!
“Shirayaki anago”/white-grilled conger eel!
Just add a little grated wasabi on top of each piece before savoring it!
Kenta is famous all over town and beyond for some tidbits you must absolutely sample!
One of them is “Kawahagi o-tsukuri”/Filefish (also called leather jacket in Australia!) sashimi plate!
Cheaper and tastier than fugu/globefish and super fresh as they picked up alive form the tank!
The fish is cut in very thin slices and served with cut leeks/scallions to be rolled inside each slice of fish. a great opportunity to show your skills with chopsticks!
And as for the dipping sauce it consists of the live liver of the very same fish chopped thinly and mixed with rice vinegar and what else!
The “jowls” of the same fish will then served to you as deep-fried! To eat with your fingers!
Another morsel you must absolutely order is “maguro zuke”!
Slices of tuna akami/lean part are marinated for a short time in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin and secret ingredients before being served as nigiri. Almost a dessert!
Also make a point to check what local fish are available!
The above is a fish that made Shizuoka Prefecture famous all over Japan: “kinmedai”/splendid Alfonsino caught off the shores of Inatori on the west coast of Izu Peninsula!
Seared on one face you can savor at least two different savors!
If you wish for something from other shores try the deep-fried “shiroebi”/white shrimps from Toyama Prefecture!
Vegetarians can order a plate of fresh vegetable tempura prepared by Kenta’s mother!
“Maki”/sushi rolls aficionados are faced with an embarrassment of choices as Kenta will gracefully prepare your orders even if they are not featured on the menu!
Dragon ordered this “futomaki”/large roll filled with fresh salmon, salmon roe, grated “yamamaimo”/Japanese yam and thin scallions!
For “dessert” (for vegetarians and vegans) ask for “kanpyo maki”/roll filled with simmered dry gourd shavings, and don’t forget to mention with “plenty of wasabi”!
Kenta cooks his own tamagoyaki/Japanese omelet (not evident in many sushi restaurants!) so don’t forget some!
And wash down the lot with some very tasty miso soup!
There are usually three kinds depending on the season.
This time we were offered tofu, nameko mushrooms or cockles.
Dragon opted for the tofu added with a generous portion of fresh seaweeed!
This was only a small dinner, so expect more in the near future with different morsels!
SUSHI SHOKUNIN BIRUKAWA/寿司職人尾留川
420-0037 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Hitoyado-Cho, 2-5-8
Opening hours: 17:00~23:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations highly recommended
Credit cards OK
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES
So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento
Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents
HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City