Sitting at a Sushi master’s bar, I find it hard to begrudge the eye-watering price (I’m sure that will be later).
The dishes are art.
The making both theatre and art.
The personal interaction you have with the chef in conversation is unique, making it a two-way performance.
The sashimi course has 3 types of soy and a fresh wasabi sourced from specific farmer in Japan (itself relatively rare outside Japan, it doesn’t grow well outside of Japan “too watery” the Washington grown ones, and it doesn’t travel so well either).
Much of the fish comes from Japan, the line caught fishing in Japan put a lot less stress on the fish and the calm nature of the death gives better texture (and possibly flavour) according to the chef. Although some of the fish is also from Spain. The chef selects the best of the best.
I’ve sat in sushi bars in Japan, but not the small bar, master chef experience. The style being edomae and omakase, where the sushi master selects and serves everything. My only other experience of this was at Sushi Tetsu in London (at a much lower price point). The most famous London example being Araki (at a £310 price point!) The experience was equal to Tetsu.
Tetsu was more intimate. Satsuki had a cooler element to the space. Conversation flowed easier at Tetsu, although that’s driven by other customers as well as the Chef. Satsuki had a flourish to the food that Tetsu slightly lacked. This was in the first courses the cooked ones as well as sashimi and in the theatre of being shown the cuts of fish all displayed and their provenance. (Although both use blow torches to good effect).
The Satsuki fish also had a deeper variety - with one fish I’ve never tried before. (The fish in the bottom right of the above picture, it was Kawahagi a thread fish, topped with its liver). This I think is the difficulty in sourcing this type of fish in London. For the fish I did try, I thought the quality was equal. A deeper variety of condiment use, a Japanese citrus, sea salt, a ponzu and a discussion of it I had with the chef.
I doubt I will have many more experiences like this in my life time. To speak with a sushi master chef, to eat such variety, so fresh, so expertly prepared right in front of me and handed, hand-to-hand - to have this understanding of how a fish is caught and handled from sea to boat to market to chef. There is also so little waste.
The art here is old, ancient old and after the experience it does trouble me that the money required for such a meal ($250 per person) is out of the world for the vast majority of people. Is it worth missing 30 MacDonald’s meals for one meal here? I think if you like sushi and are really interested in the art and mastery of it, then yes I think it is. Experiences live long in the memory.