Umegaoka Sushi no Midori, Akasaka branch, Tokyo.

May 2016.

This unassuming sushi restaurant is on the second floor of a massive tower partially connected to the Akasaka subway station, such stations being generally immense multiuse facilities conceived to bewilder non-Japanese new visitors to Tokyo.

Service is delivered in the consistent no-nonsense fabulously polite Japanese manner. Sushi choices as they are everywhere are presented in full living colour on large plastic laminated documents. All you have to do is point.

The food arrives on wooden plates but is preceded by a chewy salty fish amuse-geule pronounced probably to be bonito by one of our knowledgeable fellow diners. There is also a little cup of savoury custard with chopped scallions, not part of the main dishes.

The festival of sushi is fabulous, rice perfect and fish apparently ideally fresh. Remarkable in my memory were mackerel-on-rice slices, seeming to taste very slightly of tarragon, salmon roe uramaki with twin tiny trails of Japanese mayo across the top, incredibly rich straightforward tuna belly nigiri, long-tailed eel nigiri, etc. etc.

Sushi is mostly pretty simple stuff. Somehow the preparation and presentation here is just a little more elaborate, and contains a lot more flavour, than what we’re used to even in the best outfits back home.

Japanese beer is the perfect accompaniment, here the atmosphere was simple, clean, and intimate, and we were out the door, four of us, stuffed to the point of leaving a couple of things behind, two beers each for about C$135. Glorious experience. Food 9.1, service 8.5, ambience 8.6, value 9.1.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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