Delicious and consistent Edo-mae sushi served in a slightly sterile environment with a “Tokyo 2 Michelin star sushi” price tag. Recommend for an excellent traditional sushi omakase experience in the Jiro school (especially since it’s not terribly difficult to make a reservation at). Skip if you’ve experienced anything of similar caliber and style.
The food is good. Strong vinegar shari (as to be expected from the Jiro school) with good texture, excellent neta, and yummy otsumami. The whole experience is delicious and consistent. Not a single bad piece. Incomparable and so much better than anything you can get in San Francisco, but it is not mindblowingly good like Jiro (maybe my sushi palette is spoiled?).
The environment is not as uptight as at, say, Jiro, but service and overall ambience was pretty sterile compared to other counters I have eaten at (e.g., Sho Saito, Yoshitake).
It is pricey - we paid ¥70,000 total for two people at lunch with drinks. This is expensive compared to many sushi-ya’s and other Tokyo fine dining genres at lunch. However, this is also inexpensive compared to omakase in the US, especially for what you’re getting. Your call.
YJR and I visited Sushi Masuda on our July 2018 Tokyo trip. We had a lunch reservation made through our hotel. Upon arriving, we were seated at the far right of the empty bar with beverage menus. I ordered a carafe of the seasonal sake (smooth and delicious) while YJR ordered a ume liqueur with soda. Because of course he orders the girliest drink, of course. Mocking aside, it was delicious. A few courses into our otsumami, another party of two joined us. The four of us at the bar were served by Masuda-san himself, while the sous chef served the private room. The progression of the meal was very standard Edo-mae style sushi, ending on tamago. No fruits and no offers for extra pieces. Not a terrible thing considering how stuffed we were at that point (there were a lot of otsumami courses).
Masuda-san is pretty quiet, but did deliver each piece telling us the Japanese and English name of each. Towards the end, we chatted a bit with Masuda-san and the sous chef. I mentioned that I had visited previously and we had talked about the Mission burrito in San Francisco. The sous chef was very gracious and acknowledged like he remembered. Whether he did or not, we will never know. Oh, the Japanese and their social tendency to give grace and avoid awkwardness.
Sushi Masuda earned its second Michelin star shortly after I last visited in November 2016. Conceptually, I understand what Michelin stars are supposed to signify. Per the Michelin Guide,
Three stars signify "exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey"
Two stars mean "excellent cooking that is worth a detour", and
One star signifies "very good in quality, cuisine prepared to a high standard that is worth the stop."
Honestly, I don’t think it’s a very practical or applicable system across geographies, cultures, or culinary genres. The guide was maybe never meant to be used for comparisons in this way, but as soon as you assign a rating, comparisons will invariably happen. How are you to compare your overall experience at a sushi-ya in Tokyo versus one in New York? How are you to compare your overall experience at a sushi-ya versus a Japanese-French fine dining establishment in Tokyo? I believe the answer is you cannot. Anyhow, more on this in a later post…
A few untouched Pixel phone photos below.