You may think finding good sushi in Japan would be easy right? Well, if you know Okinawa, you’re in for a surprise. It will take a bit of work, weeding out those that focused on rolls, to find a premium place offering quality fish and a dedication to the craft of nigiri. Enter Jirocho Sushi, a restaurant right by Araha Beach in Chatan.
Once I got to the restaurant I was eager to try out the omakase. Inside, the restaurant was big with about three sections, the bar, the center dining area surrounded by sunken seating around the windows, to the more intimate dining area located off the main area. It looked like most of the locals ate in that section while the foreigners, myself included, sat in the brighter sections of the restaurant. I chose the sushi bar like any other lost hipster doing what he’s been conditioned to do, which was fine for me. They brought out an English menu and maybe it was the jetlag, but I ordered a feast.
Service was great and the food hit the spot. I know I’m a bit spoiled when it comes to sushi. And while I left satisfied, I did enjoy the other dishes more than the chef’s selection of nigiri. It was the same variety of fish I find at most restaurants. Yeah, I wish I wasn’t this much of a snob. 🙁
Jirocho Sushi (次郎長寿司)
1 Chome-12-9 Nakagami District
Chatan, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0116, Japan
Verdict: An above average place when it comes to selection and quality.
From the parking lot you'll enter through this entrance. However, I think there was another entrance on the other side. There were people inside that I didn't see enter while I had dinner. Either that or there really are ninjas here.
On my next visit, I'll have to venture into their other selections of awamori. They carry some that are 43% alcohol. So I'm going to need a designated driver. Any volunteers?
Okinawa's indigenous alcohol was on the menu, so why not order some to drink during this feast. The one I ordered was the Jirocho original which comes in this deceptively small bottle. Very refreshing on ice and yeah, adding some water makes for a smooth and clean finish. At 30% alcohol, this really made fighting to post meal food coma a challenge.
Horse meat sashimi is readily available throughout Okinawa. Of course being at a place focused on fresh quality ingredients meant if I were to try it, this would be the place. And guess what? It's not bad. I was expecting it to taste a bit gamey but not at all. It is a bit chewier in texture to say wagyu and it tasted like what you'd expect red meat to taste. Good. It's served frozen so I waited a bit for it to soften up. I think it's better eaten in its non-frozen state.
The chef's selection of nigiri was presented exactly as I saw it on the menu. Every piece cut almost exactly like what I saw on the menu, with the exception of the chutoro (medium fat tuna). That could have been a bit fattier in my opinion. But nonetheless, everything was fresh and well prepared. What a beautiful plate.
The miso soup came after the plate of nigiri. A warm delight given I ate nothing but raw food in the previous dishes.
Another Okinawan classic, stewed pork belly. This was so tender you could cut through it with your chopsticks and it's savory sweet taste will have you finishing it in seconds.
The best place to have dinner to view the selection of seafood.
A closer look at the bar, you can see the catch brought in today. Unfortunately, I was stuffed before seeing that I could have order fresh clams and sea snails. Mental note, take more time reviewing the options!