You know sushi is popular in America when your local grocery store has their own chef. There’s no denying it has become more popular in recent years with sushi popping up in more places every day. The fantastic Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary certainly helped create awareness of the art of sushi making and now we have a pocket guide from Jiro himself to understand his techniques even better. We got a copy and decided to peruse its pages and see if it can make you look like a master.
Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy (Viz Media)
So what’s it about? The Viz summary reads:
An authoritative guide on how to eat sushi by master chef Jiro Ono, subject of the award-winning documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
Succinct yet comprehensive, this little jewel of a book takes you through the seasonal offerings at Ono s famed restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. Descriptions of each type of sushi, featuring commentary from master Ono, are accompanied by beautiful full-page photography. You ll learn the seasons in which the sushi is best served, the correct methods of eating it with either fingers or chopsticks, and how and when to use condiments. Small, portable, and stylish, “Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy”is the distillation of a lifetime s worth of knowledge and a great gift for sushi lovers everywhere.”
Why does this book matter?
Though the documentary had plenty of food porn to tide most over there wasn’t an in depth look at each piece of fish nor great detail in every type Jiro serves. It’s also a pocket guide, which is a nice format to carry around so everyone thinks you’re a sushi master!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Though small, the book packs a good amount of detail into each sushi offering.
First off, the book is made with really nice materials. The plastic cover keeps it safe and secure, with two inside textured pages to make it feel expensive. The book itself is made of glossy paper that feels durable and expensive. For a tiny book it has a nice value in its materials, that’s for sure.
The book itself is broken up into three chapters opening with a foreword from Jiro himself. The first chapter is what Jiro serves at his restaurant with about a paragraph on each piece of fish. Each piece of fish has a beautiful photograph taken on the left with information on the right. The information contains details on what season it’s eaten, what it’s called in Japanese (phonetically) and how it’s written in Japanese too. The paragraph on each discusses the taste of the fish as well as what type of fish it is and even includes a quote from Jiro on why it is used or what it’s like. For such a small book it feels quite robust when it comes to this chapter.
The second chapter details how to eat sushi with the “Do’s” on the left and “Don’ts” on the right. It’s a handy guide for beginners and anyone not familiar with traditional eating of sushi.
The third and final chapter is the shortest and focuses on the dining experience and particulars of Jiro’s restaurant. That includes what the experience is like, how to make a reservation for instance, and even the dress code. Considering how famous the sushi restaurant is now it should be quite helpful to many that this chapter delves into this.
It can’t be perfect can it?
That said, the last chapter certainly feels like an advertisement to go to Jiro’s! While helpful–and yes Jiro did help write this book–it does seem odd that a sushi guide would focus on their restaurant. It’s become a bit of a sensation though and I’m sure folks will appreciate this chapter.
If Wolverine loves it so should you!
If you ever wanted to learn about the types of sushi available at a world class sushi restaurant you can’t do better than this. The detail given to each tasting is robust and interesting. It’s also a nice touch that Jiro actually contributed to this book and it’s interesting to see what the master has to say. Most importantly Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is a handy guide.
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