New good friend Serge had invited us to his favourite Japanese restaurant in town – and we gladly accepted. Serge is “Japonofile” – having travelled their on several occasions, exploring the culture, He would love to speak the Japanese language and he is in the life-long process – learning the language – He LOVES sushi and has many good stories to share – about his adventures and experiences with Japan – and around their kitchen.
Serge lives Japan.
I had heard good things about Yamaji Santatsu from other good friends, and apparently it is THE place for sushi. I am not a big fan of sushi like the missus, but tried to keep my mind and sences wide open – as always in life. We were warned by Serge – dont expect a lot interior wise. And right he was. The restaurant -raw walls, old tables and chairs, no style, but packed with a hype mixed crowd of bankers and students, old and young. Tables crammed next to each other. Actually I was not disturbed by this. After all the food is key factor, and alternative restaurants like this has an urban charm of their own, but it was clear where you could (and should) spend a few euros and thus easily improve the impression of the place. But – if it aint broke, dont fix it. Or more accurate, why change a winning hand.
Serge was greeted warmly by the staff and the sushi master – who actually looked like he was cut out of a kung-fu movie. Kill-Bill, the retired legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzô immediately came to my mind. I did not want to mess with him.
Serge was given free hands in ordering the food. I got to choose the wine, and opted for a red Pinot Noir from Alsace, served perfectly chilled. I find that this wine is a perfect companion to Sushi, much better than any white I have tried, – another choice is of course beer.
I did not shoot all the dishes but here are 3 different ones, – as you can see from the plates, no hanky-panky chinese style sushi, but rather – according to Serge – true to original top class Japanese sushi. A raw and unmasked style which I had to adjust to, and probably has to experience more times to truly appreciate.
Nothing to complain about here. Almost. The scallops were delish, – I would have cut the flat piece of the salmon away – but that just me I guess.
So, a different sushi experience for me. Having only recently started to like our local sushi place in Beggen, with their sushi on a roll, with many – MANY – different styled combinations, this was for sure more hard-core sushi. The portions generous, the taste very present – the final bill heavy .
Serge claims that this kind of sushi is the only real sushi. And a sushi you have to learn to appreciate. My advice would be – if you are new to sushi, try a more standard place first. Get familiar with the different kind of styles – before you jump into this “another level” original sushi.
At this point in time i think Yamayu Sansatsu was very good – and very expensive. In the near future I will invite Serge to our local one – he will most likely hate it and depict the flaws and short-comings. But I will be curious and interested in excactly that.
You dont come in such a place to be spoiled with good service, but the young French male waiters mostly did a good job, and laughed at my poor French. Next table had some youngsters, among other a young chap from Australia, could hardly drag the missus away , always good to meet people from Australia.
What can I say except for – Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto – Thanks for dinner Serge – we had a great evening in your company – it was a great experience and for sure great sushi. I shall rate the food as sushi food – and not compare it to other styles, French or Italian, because I would rate them higher any day – but thats my personal taste and not fair in regard to judging the sushi at Yamayu Santatsu. At the same time I must note that I am sure many people will hate the ambience, but I actually thought it fitted the overall vibe, and liked the “big city alternative restaurant feeling” it provided.
My rating for this visit:
Sushi score/Food 8.5p (10), service 3p (5), ambience 2.5p(5), total score for this visit 14p (20)