Big things have small beginnings – in the case of Tokyo-based sushi chef Hisashi Udatsu, this idea rings true. Regular visits to a sushi restaurant as a child would be the impetus to Udatsu’s life-long pursuit of becoming a respected sushi chef, a role he seems to have stepped into with grace and ease.
Udatsu Sushi, tucked snugly away in the neighborhood of Nakameguro, is a space Udatsu has created for people wanting a dining experience that stands out amongst any other in Tokyo. Through the serving of his thoughtful, carefully-chosen fish from the newly-established Toyosu fish market, he hopes to provide a meal that will not only ignite the taste buds of his guests but one that nourishes their very souls.
While unique, framed photos dot the walls of the cozy
interior of Udatsu Sushi, another form of art is displayed on the plates in
front of the customers. Masterfully prepared nigiri are placed elegantly on
small decorative dishes and presented to patrons. Udatsu has a genuine desire
to express love and care for every person who takes the time to sit at his bar,
and it shows through his efforts to curate high-quality, locally-sourced
ingredients that change with the ebb and flow of the seasons.
Limited seating also contributes to the sense of intimacy Udatsu weaves, with just nine seats at the counter and a single private room available for a party of four. All the better to enjoy the service that the young chef hopes to leave customers feeling welcomed and cherished, and moved by his efforts to serve them beautifully presented sushi.
The emotional impact Udatsu’s service has on his guests is
the stream of motivation that powers him down the river of his career – a
career that has been built over years of training and hard work at a variety of
sushi restaurants, including a Michelin star restaurant in Ginza. Udatsu’s
career culminated in the opening of Udatsu Sushi, which opened its doors in the
spring of 2019. Since then, the restaurant has become a much-talked-about
destination amongst high-profile celebrities, artists, and travelers from
around the world.
It may be that the purest form of art at Udatsu Sushi is not
found in the framed pictures on display, nor is it in the meticulously curated
food presented to guests. It may be most evident in the service from Udatsu
himself, who has forged, as he puts it, a gateway to another world.
Kristen is a Michigan-born, LA-based writer. She studied abroad in Japan during college and taught English deep in the Japanese countryside after graduating. Kristen enjoys her days reading as many books as humanly possible and writing as much as she can.