So during my trip in Jul 2016 to Hokkaido (my 1st time to Hokkaido), I actually found out that there is a Michelin starred sushi restaurant in Otaru, which is less than 1 hour away (43 mins) from Sapporo by train.
I guess most of you who have been to Hokkaido or are planning to visit Hokkaido probably have planned a day trip to Otaru or something. Otaru is actually pretty famous for their seafood (especially uni / sea urcchin) so I was very excited to be there.
That was when I found out about a Michelin starred sushi restaurant in Otaru, which cost less than the price of the sushi set served in my favourite Tokyo sushi restaurant (which is not Michelin starred by the way), so I know I just have to try this.
Restaurant web here.
Btw, side track a little here. I stayed in an airbnb for my Otaru trip (2 nights cos I reached in the late afternoon of the 1st day), most people would probably just plan a day or even a half day trip down to Otaru but we took our time and I am glad we did. It was relaxing and my airbnb host was such a good guy I feel like crying and the house was so big (it has two rooms, we used one room to dry our clothes hehe), it was a proper apartment with living room and dining table, unlike apartments in Tokyo and Osaka (guess Hokkaido really has all the land). I had requested for my airbnb host to help me book a seat at the restaurant (I went alone) and he did, but then I requested for a counter seat and then he called again, and again, for like 8 times actually cos the shop was so busy/ did not pick up the phone. I was so touched. Then when we reached Otaru, he actually contacted us the day before to confirm the timing we would reach Otaru so we could drive us to the airbnb house which is about 10-15 mins walk away from the train station, 15-20 mins walk from the attractions/ shopping districts. Then he helped us to carry our luggage up the stairs into the house (2nd floor) and he did the same thing when we were leaving and were heading to Sapporo. He drove us to the train station and helped us to buy train tickets. He also showed us how to use all the things in the house (washing machine/ heater (we didn't need it cos it was summer but we switched it on to dry our clothes and it was so useful), how to use the stove, electrical appliances and all. He even showed me how to go to the sushi restaurant and offered to drive me there the next day for my reservation (I walked there myself cos it's like 5 mins walk away from the apartment). If you are going to Otaru and staying a night there, I highly recommend you to stay with this host (seems like he has two listings, prolly side by side anyway).
Here's the menu + sushi when I went in July 2016.
I ordered the Jun set, since I was already there...
other pages of the menu
They also offer Japanese traditional cuisines but you have to tell them which set you want when you make a reservation since they probably buy ingredients according to the reservations and all.
As mentioned earlier, I requested for a change to counter seat... hehe, right in front of where the magic takes place.
Since I ordered Gin (16 sushi)...
All sushi were already seasoned with soy sauce/ citrus/ salt so we can just eat it. yums.
1. Karei (Flounder) - This was the first piece of sushi and it was good, like so fresh. Really made me anticipate what was coming next. In my excitement, I actually forgot to take a photo of this, so I re-ordered this after finishing the set + ordering one more nigiri lol.
2. Shake (Salmon) - probably one of the thing Hokkaido is known for anyway, super fresh.
3. Maguro no shoyuzuke - (seasoned tuna in soy sauce)
4. Chutoro (Medium fatty tuna) - okay, tbh I was a tad disappointed when i was served this, I was hoping for my fav tuna belly to appear but since I went at night there's probably no more ootoro, but it is still good though.
5. Shimesabe (Marinated mackerel)
6. Botan Ebi (big sweet shrimp) - very sweet.
7. Hotate (scallop)
8. Hokkigai (surf clam)
9. Tsubugai (whelk)
10. Shako - Okay, this is supposedly another famous Hokkaido local produce or something, but I didn't really like this (it was my first time eating this). It has a grainy texture and I think that is how the locals like it, doesn't really suit my tastes but it was sweet, so for me it is taste-wise: yes, texture-wise: no.
11. Zuwaigani (snow crab) - super sweet
12. Ikura (Salmon roe)
13. Tarako (cod fish roe)
14. & 15. 2 variety of sea urchin - Bafun uni & Murasaki uni. Bafun uni wins, hands-down. We might be used to eating Murasaki uni and I thought that was good enough, till I ate bafun uni. It was so much sweeter and flavor that murasaki uni pales in comparison, It is good, but bafun uni is better (& much more expensive tho. Nevertheless, I enjoyed both varieties.
16. Wakame (seaweed) - Usually when you see this or egg sushi, it signifies that your set is ending. I felt so sad when I was served this. I WANT MORE D:
17. Maguro Temaki (tuna handroll) - Almost always the last probably so to fill up people's bellies?
Shiromirugai (Geoduck) - I have never eaten raw geoduck before and I really wanted to try it and I did the right thing by ordering. It was fresh and I really liked the taste and texture. Apparently it was the most expensive sushi (I didn't know) that the sushi chef was like talking to the local guest who was like approving(?) me for ordering this and giving the thumbs up sign? The locals were like nodding their head in approval when I ordered this. Think it is 880 yen for a piece or something T^T.
+ an additional karei (just so I can snap a photo of it lol)
So in total, I ate like 18 sushi and was so stuffed, but I have no regrets and their service is really good. Instead of topping up your tea, they actually changed the entire cup so you have a piping hot cup of tea instead of lukewarm tea. Oh yeah, set came with soup as well.
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