In central Ginza, infamous for its $10 cups of coffee, it is difficult to find a high end sushi restaurant that is considered “reasonable.” Not so at Sushi Iwa however, where a simple sushi lunch consisting of ten pieces of sushi will only set you back 5,000¥, which is considerably less than other restaurants in the area.
Opened in 2012, the one-Michelin star rated Sushi Iwa is located at 8-5-25 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Owner-chef, Hisayoshi Iwa, is only in his late 30s and learned his skills from chef Shinji Kanesaka at Ginz’a highly respected and two-Michelin star rated Sushi Kanesaka. The sushiya is located in the former premises of one of Tokyo’s top kaiseki restaurants (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner), Kojyu. The entrance is at street level and the restaurant is easily recognizable by its bamboo trellis, noren curtain and small iron lantern placed at foot level. Inside, the restaurant is surprisingly small with a counter large enough to accommodate six diners.
If you are unable to decide, try the omakase, where the chef decides what to serve you. The meal starts with marinated kombu, moves to sashimi followed by sushi. You will be amazed by the delicacy and the respect with which your food is prepared. Go with the sake pairing, as chef Iwa will carefully contemplate what he is serving and order one of his assistants to bring the appropriate sake to complement what your meal. The fatty chutoro tuna is outstanding as is the uni (sea urchin) which is flown in from Hokkaido in the morning. The menu changes with the seasons, where during the winter months you will find selections of crab and shirako (cod-milt) and during the summer you can partake in the scallops and anago (salt water eel).
Sushi Iwa has a branch in Hong Kong as well, which necessitates chef Iwa being away for as much as a week each month. However, his second-in-command is said to be capable of holding down the fort with no discernible drop in quality!
8-5-25 Ginza, Chuo-ku
12-2 p.m., 6-10 p.m. (Sun. and holidays 12-8 p.m.), closed Mon