Sushi in Ginza on Our Last Night in Japan
Midori Ginza tl;dr
Looking for great value for the price for sushi in Ginza. Our last meal in Tokyo on a whim we decided to go check out the Ginza area and on the way over there, since he told me to find a place to eat, I just Googled affordable place to eat and this one popped up on blogs and TripAdvisor so I figured why not!?
We had 3 hours before we have to head back to the airport so we went to check it out. This place is only a short walk away from the JR Station. When we arrived, there was a whole row of people waiting outside and from the handy photos I found online, we knew this was the place.
Immediately I went to the machine next to the entrance and got a number so we could start the amazing waiting game.
F8T Tip Looking for photos online prior is a great way to spot new places especially if its written in a language you don’t understand.
I’ll break my thoughts up into two sections; 1st was the waiting part where we were just waiting for our number to be call to be seated and 2nd, the details of our actual dinner.
After getting our number we had quite a wait ahead of us. While the guy told us approximately 1 hour, it ended up being more like 1.5 hours and we got there at 5 pm, so a relatively early dinner. As our luck would have it, as we waited, it started snowing half way through which made standing outside a slightly uncomfortable experience. The only seating options while waiting was pretty much exposed to the elements so we were starting to get a bit wet.
Luckily it wasn’t actually full on raining / hailing / snowing. Also, when the guy came out, although it seems like he was making it through the numbers fairly quickly, he only called the numbers in Japanese even though he knew we only spoke English and had confirmed the number in my hand.
OK, I’m not saying that I need him to speak English, I know the main language is not English and they don’t have to speak any English at all; however, if you’re going to have a registration machine in half English, at least try to ensure that is up to date with the numbers you’re calling for.
After a while JM tired of collecting snow on his head and decided to check the machine for the current number being called. If JM didn’t constantly check the machine we may have completely missed our number being called. Apparently there was a slight issue with our number no longer being listed as being next so JM reminded the attendant of our ticket to correct the misunderstanding.
Finally after being called in, we lucked out and scored two seats at the sushi bar. The great thing about any sushi bar, especially in Japan, is that you can see the chefs at work making the delicious morsels that you’re about to consume.
Another added bonus is that you’ll be able to see other people’s orders and if there is something that catches your eye, you can just let the chef know via sign language, grunts, and other facial expressions.
I ended up going with the omakase which had a nice assortment of nigiri pieces and JM went with another set, slightly smaller than the omakase but equally delicious.
Both of us were served this crab paste salad which pretty much was the ugliest and one of the most unappealing dishes I’ve ever been served. But if you like the inside of the crab like we do then you were in luck because that’s pretty much what it was but on lettuce.
So if you bypass the look of it, you’ll find out like we did that it was actually pretty tasty. In terms of the sushi; while it was still better than any sushi I could get in the states, I just wasn’t overly impressed when comparing to the other venues we had explored earlier in the trip.
One funny side not was when I really wanted to eat some torched eel instead of raw eel. I had seen one of the other chefs using a torch on one of the other dishes and had hoped against hope that they knew what I wanted or at least you could comply. After asking the waitress for torched eel, the look on her face made it clear that there was something lost in the translation.
With curious words being exchanged between the chef and our attendant and nothing bus confused looks directed toward each other. Fortunately an opportunity occurred when we were able to point out another chef using the torch along with easily misunderstood hand motions finally mutual understanding and a good laugh was shared by all.
On another note, sad to say but their uni nigiri, which is my favorite ingredient to eat, was a disappointment in terms of freshness and flavor. You win some, you lose some. Overall it was a good experience but in my mind, not worth the wait in the cold much less the snow. While the tea outside was a nice touch, the staff both inside and out were less than helpful and the sushi was average at best.
There are so many other sushi restaurants in Tokyo, if I were you, I’d try another one with less of a wait time and more than likely even better sushi. You can’t go wrong with anything near the Tsukiji Fish Market.
F8T Tip Keep an eye on the number being called. If you don’t understand Japanese, then look at the machine where you got your number.
Where have you gone that was less that a stellar experience?