1st Floor, Ark Hills South Tower, 1-4-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
In a nutshell: A tiny, spartan dining room in Tokyo’s Ark Hills office complex is the unlikely setting for one of Japan's most venerated sushi restaurants. Chef Takashi Saito goes to extraordinary lengths to source the best ingredients to create sushi that balances texture, temperature and flavour.
The food: Diners at the tiny sushi counter are treated to a procession of seasonally changing appetizers, like ankimo (monkfish liver) and shirako (milt), before moving into nigiri, which spans from different cuts of tuna (akami, chu-toro and o-toro) to pricey Aomori uni and tomago to finish. Saito serves slightly smaller pieces of nigiri than others (some fish are aged, their temperature precisely controlled), and he adds marginally more salt to his rice, prepared with mild red vinegar.
How to get a reservation: The truth of the matter is, in order to book Sushi Saito, you need to have a connection with the chef. Your best bet is to try to get an invite from a regular. It’s also worthwhile to note that Saito does offer a small private dining room with a second sushi counter, where sushi is served by a different chef.
On wine service: Oftentimes, the beverage lists at top sushiya can feel like an afterthought, proffering limited options. Recently though, Saito-san upgraded his wine collection. New to the menu is an abundance of Champagnes from coveted producer Jacques Selosse – but note, these bottles are anything but cheap.
Other ventures: Last spring, Saito opened his first venue outside Japan: Sushi Saito at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Here, the chef flies in fish daily from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market in time for lunch service.