Sushi Bang for Your Yen

One of the most memorable places that Pdho and I visited on our first trip to Japan was Umegaoka Sushi No Midori. Not only was the sushi pretty solid, but considering the quantity and quality of the fish for the price that we paid, there was unarguably no other meal that could better be described as “good value” in the words of PeaCue and “best bang for your buck” according to Pdho. We couldn’t wait to go again this time around, so we were beyond overjoyed after finding out that there was an outpost located directly underneath our hotel in the Shibuya Mark City Building.

Tuna and Toro Set
Tuna and Toro Set

I really don’t like tuna. It is my least favorite sushi mainly because I think it tastes so plain, and the only way I will eat it really is in a roll a la Spicy Tuna. However, there truly is something about the maguro in Japan. It is like a whole different fish. I have to admit, the maguro here isn’t the best I have had, but it’s still better than anything I’ve found in the States. The Tuna and Toro Set was the perfect way to start the meal offering a spicy tuna roll, 4 pieces of maguro and 2 pieces each of medium fatty and very fatty toro.

Smoked Sushi Set
Smoked Sushi Set

This was something that Pdho recalled from our first visit and insisted on having again. From left to right, there is toro, something which I couldn’t understand, ebi topped with cheese, squid, and salmon, all finished with a blow torch giving every bite an absolutely delectable smokiness. They were all good, but my favorite probably had to be the unknown white fish which was particularly buttery and tender. The shrimp topped with cheese was my least favorite but with most variety sets, there will always be something in the pack that you don’t like. (I always remember the numerous bags of Ruffles that were always left last to be eaten in the Frito Lays variety pack from Costco).

Nigiri a La Carte
Nigiri a La Carte

We supplemented our sets with some nigiri a la carte. Starting from the top left, there was salmon, scallop, amberjack, egg, spanish mackerel, and smoked toro. The amberjack was probably the least interesting, while the scallop and spanish mackerel were notable in their taste being distinctively different than what I’ve had in the States. The scallop had a definite sweetness that I’ve never associated with scallop, and the spanish mackerel had a markedly subtle profile. It was all good, but we were getting pretty stuffed by this point.

Miso Soup and Chawanmushi
Miso Soup and Chawanmushi

We finished the meal with some miso and chawanmushi. Although it may seem like I am on a sushi high, I’m really not. The fish was all pretty good, but the chawanmushi was actually pretty good as well. The dashi was extremely flavorful which gave the normally simple egg custard dish a little more depth and complexity.

Overall, the sushi here is still as good as I remember it and considering how much we had and how stuffed we felt at the end of the meal, it really did not come close to breaking the bank. The restaurant is not big and there isn’t much of an atmosphere, but those are pretty minor in my book. My one criticism is probably related to the wait which speaks to how popular this place is among tourists and locals equally. Luckily, we only waited about 30 minutes, but generally speaking that seems like the shorter side. People start queuing up before the restaurant even opens at 11am. Thankfully, they have this nice automated ticketing system where you can get a number and then go walk around a bit while you wait. If only we understood Japanese, we probably could have taken advantage of their text/call back system which would have been even better had we been expecting an extra long wait, but we couldn’t understand how to use it. It wasn’t like we needed it this time, but it is nice that they have the technology.

Granted there is no drought of options for good sushi in Tokyo, but if you’re in the area and have some time, I would recommend Umegaoka Sushi No Midori in a heart beat. The price tag alone inches my overall assessment of this place up to 4 stars.

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori
1-12 Dogenzaka
Shibuya Mark City East 4F
Shibuya, Tokyo Prefecture 150-0043

PAFO Ratings for Umegaoka Sushi No Midori:
Price $$
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 4 stars


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