If you thought it was the fish that dictated how sushi tasted, think again. Many of the pros will tell you that it’s actually the rice, known as ‘shari’, that plays the most important role in determining flavour. You can certainly taste the difference at Tsugu Sushimasa. That’s because they don’t use regular rice vinegar (shirozu) here: instead, they prefer akazu, a red vinegar made from sake lees that was the default option for sushi back in the Edo period (1603-1868). It’s light brown in colour, with a stronger taste; think of it as the chardonnay to shirozu’s sauvignon blanc.
Sushimasa has been going for three generations now, which is what inspired current chef Shogo Sugaya to add the word tsugu (to succeed or inherit) to the restaurant’s name. And if you fancy something other than raw fish for dinner, you’re in luck: the menu also features a range of grilled fish and other small plates. Expect to pay from ¥10,000 plus tax for an omakase (chef’s choice) course.