We visited Nadeshiko Sushi in Akihabara
Just off the main road in Akihabara, Tokyo, there is a sushi restaurant called “Nadeshiko Sushi”, which is exclusively staffed by women. This is unusual as sushi chiefs are usually male, and this allowed them to become somewhat of a spectacle when they opened about 8 years ago.
Inside, there is seating for 15 people around an L shaped counter as well as a few small tables. There was a nigiri sushi board (or nigiri-dai) around the middle of the counter, which was staffed by two female sushi chiefs wearing colourful kimonos.
We ordered a meal costing 3500 yen, consisting of sushi, soup and salad.
My daughter and I visited for an early weekday dinner around 6pm, with only one other customer at the counter at the time. I ordered a 3500 yen meal set, which consisted of some nigiri sushi, salad, and soup, as well as three sushi rolls and edamame. The restaurant serves alcohol, but we had more things to do later that day, so I settled for a cup of oolong tea. The restaurant has a traditional sushi restaurant interior, with pine panels, some more intricate than others, and light-coloured paint on the walls. The interior designer decided not to capitalise on the stores location, which is the centre of anime culture in Japan, which can be either a selling point or a missed opportunity depending on who you ask. I found it to be a calming place to be, with a good atmosphere.
The salad arrived before too long as I sipped my tea and ate the edamame. The salad was based on rocket, seaweed and Japanese mustard leaves, with small cubes of salmon, squid and tuna drizzled with a sour Japanese salad dressing. I asked the chef if I could take a picture of her, she agreed and smiled bashfully.
The sushi section of the set meal consisted of 10 nigiris and a tekka-maki. The nigiris were the standard fish you’d see in a meal like this; the likes of tuna, salmon, squid and sea bass. There was also one seasonal fish included, which was bonito, which is in season during the monsoon season. I started with my favourite, squid nigiri, which had a shiso leaf underneath the slice of squid. There was also a flounder nigiri, lightly broiled and topped with green onion, which went well with lemon salt.
My daughter ordered three additional sushi rolls: broiled tuna and garlic, mackerel and lotus root, and shrimp with cream cheese. All of them were delicious, with the tuna and garlic standing out as exceptional. I’ll probably making this at home some time.
We ended with the soup, which was made of shiitake mushroom, seaweed, and shellfish. The meal was quite filling, and as I was thinking of leaving the store started to fill up with that night’s diners. On the way back to the hotel, I found a vending machine selling oden stew in a can, which I bought as a souvenir.
When the store opened, the fact that a sushi restaurant was run exclusively by women was controversial. But the success of Nadeshiko sushi should be proof that anyone can do what they want as long as they have the necessary skills to do so. If you’re ever in the area, give Nadeshiko sushi a try.