Mr. Sato wants it all, but will his unbridled desire be his undoing?

In Japan, autumn is said to be the best time of year to eat delicious food. It’s also said be the best time of year to read books or play sports, but really, it’s that first activity that’s nearest and dearest to our hearts.

And so our ace reporter Mr. Sato found himself out and about in downtown Tokyo, looking for some tasty eats to power him through another day of journalistic excellence. He knew he wanted to eat a rice bowl, but that still left him with another decision to make. Should he eat a beef bowl, perhaps made with some of Japan’s tasty regional beef? Or would he be better off with a bowl of mixed sashimi-grade seafood?

Then he realized that the correct answer was “both.”

Ordinarily, that’d be a tricky feat to pull off. Beef bowl joints don’t usually serve high-quality seafood, and sashimi specialists are generally exactly that: specialists who don’t have time to bother with beef. But Mr. Sato wanted it all, and luckily Tsukiji Imatsu was ready to accommodate his covetous craving.

While Tsukiji Imatsu’s permanent location is in Tokyo’s Tsukiji neighborhood, it’s also running a pop-up restaurant inside the Odakyu department store in Shinjuku, just a short walk from SoraNews24 headquarters. The restaurant is part of Odakyu’s autumn food fair, which is running until October 20, and Mr. Sato showed up right when they opened, at 10 a.m., in order to avoid the lunch and dinner crowds.

For the event, Tsukiji Imatsu is offering two special menu items. First is a rice bowl with seared Awagyu beef from Tokushima Prefecture, maguro (tuna), uni (sea urchin), and ikura (salmon roe), for 2,000 yen (US$18.50). If you’re looking for something even more premium, though, there’s also an upgraded version that swaps the maguro for toro (extra-fatty tuna) for just 700 yen more, and Mr. Sato decided to splurge, keeping his fingers crossed that it would make his taste buds sing loudly enough to cover any whimpering from his wallet.

After ordering, Mr. Sato took a seat and waited until the server returned carrying a tray with his meal (which includes sides of miso soup, vegetables, and pickles), and he was struck by how beautiful it was.

Like we said above, beef and seafood is usually an either/or choice with rice bowls, but it wasn’t just the decadence that took Mr. Sato’s breath away, but the presentation.

The toppings were arranged in distinct, graceful lines, and for a moment he felt like he was standing on the summit of a mountain, gazing out over a pristine, untouched view of the ocean, land, and sky. It was like looking down on the sea of clouds from the top of Mt. Fuji, only much, much more appetite-inducing.

With how much effort chefs in Japan put into aesthetics, it’s not uncommon to need a moment to want to spend a few moments admiring the visuals before you start eating. However, Mr. Sato sat still for a second reason too, wondering what his first bite should be.

Beef, toro, uni, or ikura could all be satisfying rice bowl toppings all by themselves, so what order should he eat them in? After three full minutes of deep contemplation and loud stomach growling, however, Mr. Sato concluded there probably isn’t a wrong way to go about it, and so he listened to his heart at that particular moment and tried a bite of beef.

No sooner did he drop the morsel into his mouth than he could feel his consciousness floating away from his body. If was like he could see himself sitting there, watching himself chew the meat, and as he did, he saw a euphoric smile spread across his face from the silky smooth tenderness and juicy flavor.

Next up was the toro, cut in slices large enough that they slightly wrapped themselves over the tips of his chopsticks. Likewise, Mr. Sato felt wrapped in bliss as he ate his first piece of fish.

“Am I dreaming?” he wondered, thinking this had to be too good for anything that actually exists in our world. But sure enough, he was wide awake, and the high bar set by the beef and tuna was no problem for the uni and ikura, as the entire quartet was outstanding.

But of course, a quartet is supposed to harmonize and enhance the members’ individual performances, right? With the individual taste-testings done, Mr. Sato now began to mix the toppings together, allowing him to experience multiple new flavors. Out of the many combinations, the best of all was the hybrid pleasure of adding a dollop of uni and a few ikura to a piece of beef.

So yes, sometimes you really can have it all in a rice bowl, and our guy wouldn’t have it any other way.

Restaurant information
Tsukiji Imatsu / 築地 いま津
Part of Odakyu’s Autumn Appetite Fair / 秋の食欲全開まつり
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 1-1-13, 11th floor
東京都新宿区西新宿1-1-13 11F
Until October 20
Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Saturday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sunday)
Event website

Photos ©SoraNews24
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