The buzz: Occupying an imposing Japanese house on Petchaburi Road, Sushi Ichizu highlights fresh produce from Tsukiji Market and the delicate knife-work of Toda Riku, former sous chef at Tokyo's one-Michelin-starred Sushi Sugita. Here, there are only 16 seats on offer a day and reservations open up two months ahead of time.
The decor: Minimalist to a tee, starting from the facade of slatted wood that hides a minute Zen garden with fountain. The dining room itself is about as streamlined as it gets: a perfect picture of light-toned wood with a U-shaped counter that seats just eight.
The food: Though only 26, Japan-native Riku already boasts 12 years in the Edo-style sushi game, learning all about salt-and-vinegar curing, searing and smoking, and marinating to draw out the finest flavors of each fish. His 16-course omakase dinner will set you back B8,000 and might include such delicacies as an appetizer of steamed abalone with thick abalone liver dipping sauce, and perfectly crafted bites featuring four-day-marinated kohada (gizzard shad), katsugo (small tai fish) cured in kombu (kelp) and Higashi Sawa’s seriously in-demand uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido. Another intricate specialty is the char-grilled kekani (haircrab) mixed with rice, served with uni and ikura (fish roe) plus a side of asari (littleneck clam) soup. Dessert is no less handcrafted, with Riku whipping up fresh warabimochi (jelly-like confectionary) before your eyes, topped off with a delightful kuromitsu (black sugar syrup) dressing.
The drinks: Sake (from B300/glass) and umeshu (B350/glass or B900 for a set of three varieties) is joined by a small selection of whiskey, Champagne and beer. The wine list is coming soon.
Why we’d come back: Riku helms the operation with grace and poise, but he’s not averse to small talk either (he speaks competent English), elevating this to something more fun than the stuffy omakase experience you might find elsewhere. Wanvida Jiralertpaiboon