2-2-15, Minami Aoyama
The friendly master Shingo Takahashi apprenticed for Sushi Sho chef Keiji Nakazawa before opening his own place behind this discreet sliding bamboo door on a small street near Aoyama Park. It’s omakase only here—and it does not disappoint. From fresh-as-possible cuts of familiar fish to creamy baby shrimp and sweet uni to the intense flavor of in-season horse mackerel and sea eel. There are also offerings you rarely see, like caviar seaweed to start (the seaweed has little bubbles on the outside that pop when you crunch down), raw eggplant (ever so slightly pickled, though you can’t really tell), and so much more. Takahashi kindly requests no snaps inside the small, pale, minimal space so that you can focus and enjoy your meal. Image courtesy of Tabelog.com.
For a plethora of reasons (including but not limited to: language barriers, bookings closed on certain days, and tables reserved months out), it can be hard to get a reservation at a lot of places. Masuda is one of those places. Persevere. (It's best to go through the website.) You'll be rewarded with a few perfect umami-rich bites of fish. The chef is a disciple of Jiro Ono (of Netflix fame) and has two Michelin stars. Keep an eye on the counter for shellfish delicacies like needlefish and akagai, which is a rare red clam. Chef Masuda makes his own soy and excels at the deeply savory broths that are the foundation of so many dishes. Important to note: Add the spring onions that come on the side—these green shoots completely transform the flavor.