4376 FRASER ST, VANCOUVER, BC
MASAYOSHI IS THE real deal, a pocket-sized sushi restaurant with just seven bar stools and 16 seats where the only tinge of inauthenticity is the radiant good humour of the sushi chef at the centre of it all.
Eat at his bar and you will assuredly not miss the traditional solemnity of the omakase experience. Masayoshi makes it all fun, delivering each item with a few excited words. The decor is spare, the walls white and barely decorated. Young families and casual diners occupy the tables, and serious sushi noshers fight over the bar stools. Once installed there you will find that the cramped space invariably results in easy conversation around the bar. Note that the place setting includes a small, moist napkin for wiping your fingers. Do as recommended and use your hands; eating sushi this way makes it much easier to flip the package over as you pop it into your mouth, so that it lands on the tongue fish first, as God and Jiro intended. Omakase menus here are deeply seasonal and offered in three price categories.
Why not start with a few brightly refreshing sips of Kubota Senju sake? Then tuck into some madai—Japanese bream—the flesh tasting sweet and clean and the rice packing a subdued tang, each grain clinging to the next but distinct on the palate—as it should be. On it goes, through the Tunisian octopus, firm bream, three different cuts of bluefin, in a procession of increased fattiness from chutoro to otoro, some delicate and creamy horse mackerel, barely vinegared mackerel, a lightly chewy flank of needlefish, then a deeply flavoursome prawn. Osuimono (clear dashi) is delivered with a curled ribbon of exceptional goldeye snapper, mounded with grated daikon and yuzu. And, of course, Hokkaido sends perfect scallops and uni. After that you start checking your calendar for when you can make it back.