Sitting at the counter of the now empty sushi bar was a weird sensation, a little over an hour ago when I first arrived at the Tsukiji market this place had been absolutely heaving, with a small queue out the door. All the patrons were suited and booted, business men grabbing a bite on their way to work. Now the counter is ours, alone, it’s unnerving, the vibrancy and life that formed the appeal of this place has moved on. I hope that the food that brought all those men here is worth the commitment of sitting in an empty room.
It’s cold outside, so the green tea is a most welcome, life assuring mug of tasty warmth. Thanks to an English menu ordering is simple, I opt for the tuna nigiri selection while my partner chooses the creative selection which has many more elements and a greater range of fish and finishes than my very plain tuna.
I watch the sushi getting made as best I can, in spite of the counter in front of me, it’s a little too high for me to see over unless I stand, and with thick Perspex obstructing the view through the chilled fish cabinet the remainder of the time.
I can grab a few fleeting glances as the fish is sliced and the nigiri being formed in the hand of the sushi chef, with each movement, precise and with purpose. I watch as the different cuts of tuna are selected and sliced, one nigari is briefly glazed with a blowtorch, scorching the flesh ever so faintly. This simple move adds an excellent taste dimension to that one piece of nigiri.
The sushi was excellent thanks to the etiquette knowledge gleaned from the cookery lesson a few days earlier, I knew what to do, how much wasabi to add, how long to dunk the sushi and how to eat it correctly. I know that the ginger is intended to be eaten between pieces, a palate cleanser, before the next piece.
The small cup of miso soup is a nice finish, to warm me up a little more before I once again brave the cold world outside.
As I complete one final swing around the market I can see crowds forming, soon I’m sure this little sushi bar will once again be full. The warming green tea and tasty miso soup making these new guests warm and welcome.