My wife and I ate at Jiro’s about 1.5 years ago. That was my first time having really top notch sushi. I was very much looking forward to trying his son Takashi’s sushi just to see if it’s any different than his father’s. TL;DR – while more relaxed and friendly, the sushi isn’t as good as his father’s.
Similar to Jiro’s, we had our hotel, the Hyatt Andaz concierge make our reservations. I contacted them at the end of January looking for a late March reservation. The hotel told me that the restaurant takes reservations on the first business day for the following month. That meant to get a March 2017 reservation, we had to book on February 2nd (not Feb 1st since he’s closed on Wednesdays.) Making things complicated, we wanted a rsvp for 5 people. The hotel emailed me on Feb 2 to tell me that nothing was available. I then asked them to find me an rsvp for 2 instead on 3 different dates, which they luckily found one (the other 3 ppl can figure it out on their own.) The lesson learned here is that since there are only 8 seats, trying to get a big rsvp is nearly impossible.
Our rsvp was for 7:30pm on a Tuesday night. We got to Roppongi Hills at around 7:20 and was frantically looking for the restaurant. It’s located on the 2nd floor between a Tiffany’s and another store (the stairs are outside.) The entrance is all in Japanese so we weren’t sure it was his restaurant. We peaked inside and saw magazine clippings of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” and that’s when we knew we found the right place.
When we walked inside, we saw 2 other young couples sitting at 2 tables. We thought they were done with their dinner, but it turns out the restaurant was waiting for us so that all 6 people could eat at the same time. One couple was a non-English speaking Chinese couple, and the other couple was a Korean and Chinese speaking couple from California (who helped translate for the Chinese couple.)
I had read on Tripadvisor about Takashi yelling as his apprentices and made it uncomfortable for guests. I guess he was in a good mood when we went because he was nice and patient, especially with the Chinese couple. He spoke English pretty well, turns out he’s been learning from listening to his apprentice speaking to foreigners. He also can say some of the fish in Chinese as well. I did ask him how often he still meets up with his father, but he didn’t understand me. The apprentice translated, but he replied in English saying that due to conflicting day-offs, he only saw him maybe once a month.
There was a minor incident where the apprentice forgot to do something, and he didn’t seem to get too angry with him. I just think it’s because his apprentices are really young whereas Jiro has his other son cutting the fish for him, and so you have 2 top-notch sushi chefs versus just Takashi at this location.
The first difference between Jiro was that Takashi asked each couple if we wanted “sashimi, sushi, or both?” All 3 couples chose the mixed option. Similar to Jiro, there are “rules” to eating his sushi. The Chinese couple was dipping the sushi into more soy sauce even though he had told them it wasn’t necessary since he had brushed soy sauce on it already. About 1/3 of the way though, he could see the Chinese couple struggling to finish the sushi due to the amount of rice, so he started to give them smaller rice portions. While we were on the shrimp course, the Chinese guy stood up to use the restroom. He told him he should sit back down and eat the shrimp first since the temperature of the shrimp was key.
At the end, he took pictures with all of us. No melon from him though.
A reader had told me there was too much mackerel in the meal, and looking back there were 5 total pieces that either were mackerel or tasted like mackerel. It didn’t bother me that much. There were 3 pieces that had too much wasabi in my opinion. I also thought the sauce used on the eel and clam was too sweet. I also thought the rice could be warmer (I know Jiro made a point of the rice temperature in the documentary.) I have no problems with the vinegar taste, but I know some people do. I mean, let’s be honest here, unless this was a blind taste test, psychologically, I was going to pick his father’s sushi over his no matter what.
Total cost when we went – 69,000 JPY, which is ~$621 for the 2 of us. We did have a bottle of sake though, but I can’t see it being that expensive. For the price, you may as well try to get an RSVP at his father’s. The man is 91 now, so who knows how much longer he’s going to be working.