Restaurant review: Tsukiji Market 築地市場

By Catherine Shu  /  Staff Reporter

Fri, May 13, 2011 - Page 14

Named after Tokyo’s famous fish and seafood wholesale center, Tsukiji Market (築地市場) on Yongkang Street caters to diners who are looking for quality sushi in a casual environment.

Tsujiki Market’s prices are slightly higher than other establishments in the area, but the cost is justified by the careful use of fresh ingredients. Instead of being mixed from a powder or squeezed out of a tube, the restaurant’s wasabi is grated and has an appealing texture and piquancy missing from its cheaper counterparts. Garnishes like shredded daikon root are prepped just before being plated, Tsujiki Market’s supply of seafood is replenished daily, and the menu is regularly rotated.

The restaurant’s servers are friendly and knowledgeable. When I asked one of Tsukiji Market’s sushi chefs if they had seaweed salad, he gave me a brief overview of the different types of seaweed available before offering his opinion on the best one (which, alas, was not available). My waitress suggested that I order a sashimi set meal (築地生魚片定食, NT$380) instead of the pricier sashimi plate (築地本日刺身, NT$580). It came with rice, a side dish of pork and tofu and a small garden salad in addition to seven varieties of sashimi.

On a previous visit, I had ordered a very good fresh Hokkaido shellfish assortment that included a fat scallop and Hokkigai clam. The dish wasn’t available on my most recent trip, so I tried one of the restaurant’s specials, mentaiko (明太子), or marinated pollock roe. It is available by itself for NT$160, but my waitress told me it would be too salty to eat with my sashimi and suggested mentaiko potatoes (明太子烤洋芋, NT$180) instead. Featuring slices of the tuber baked with a mixture of cheese and mentaiko on top, the dish is an izakaya staple. Tsukiji Market’s version is excellent: not too greasy, salty or overcooked.

Tsukiji Market serves some Japanese beers and a large selection of sake. The restaurant’s first floor is tiny and only has sushi bar seating, but there is a dining room upstairs for larger parties.