Located in the busy Ikebukuro of Tokyo, this little sushi restaurant is a quiet gem in a rowdy area.  In front of the door are a couple of signs with photographs of various sushi rice bowls.  Because I can never resist mouth-watering images, I decided to hop in for lunch.

神楽鮨

To get to this restaurant, simply arrive at Ikebukuro station and make your way out the east exit.  Head right, walking along Meiji street, until you see this restaurant to your left.  Possibly because this was a late lunch, there weren’t other customers aside from my colleague and me.  Having said that, the restaurant was rather quiet which is something to note if you’ve read my spiel on why airplane food tastes bad.  This restaurant has a lunch menu where I saw a salmon and salmon roe rice bowl for ¥788 and ordered one.

I was surprised to see a bowl of miso soup when my lunch came.  Let me rephrase that.  It wasn’t because of the miso soup, but rather what was inside the soup.  It was a clam miso soup that was so wonderfully flavourful.  There was a lovely seafood kick to the miso soup.  Normally, restaurants would serve the ordinary version so this definitely made a great impression.

神楽鮨-clam-miso-soup

The rice bowl looked scrumptious.  Six slices of salmon were placed around the bowl with the salmon roe on top of a mint leaf in the middle. The salmon was moist and tender yet had a nice bite – not mushy at all.  Along with a bite of rice, it was a lovely cool and warm contrast.  As for the salmon roe, it was a burst of wonderful in my mouth, literally.  The fun thing about eating these fish eggs is how they pop in your mouth at every bite.

神楽鮨-salmon-and-salmon-roe-ikura-rice-bowl

I sampled my colleague’s order of avocado and tuna rice bowl which was also for ¥788.  The fatty content of the avocado with the lean, cool tuna meat was a great bite with rice.  The tuna was dressed with a sweet soya sauce which made it appetizing.  I prefer the salmon rice bowl but recommend ordering either one as you’ll be satisfied either way.

神楽鮨-avocado-and-tuna-rice-bowl

If you stop by the restaurant let me know what you end up eating.  Oh one last thing.  Because this restaurant has absolutely no English, I want to teach a little trick to order something great at any restaurant without any Japanese knowledge.  Simply ask for the ‘おすすめ’ which means recommended item, pronounced ‘O-su-su-meh’.  Each Japanese restaurant has at least one signature dish they call おすすめ that they promote.  My experience is it’s never a bad idea to order the おすすめ.  I’d even say to print out these four words and bring it with you to every restaurant.  Enjoy!

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