Osaka – Sushi Jinsei

This posts marks my last meal in my Kansai 2013 trip, and also happens to be the most expensive meal. Osaka is not known to have good sushi, because unlike Tokyo, it doesn’t have near access to fresh fish. In addition, the speciality dishes of Osaka and the Kansai region isn’t sushi. However, as it was my first time in Japan, I just had to have a full fledged omakase sushi meal for the heck of it. Once again, I referred to the Michelin Guide for recommendations and among all sushi restaurants, I picked this one because of the location. It’s located in Shinsaibashi, walking distance from my hotel. It was awarded with 1 star.

The restaurant is inconspicuously tucked away an alley of one of the streets of Shinsaibashi area. It is not visible from the main street and it may take a while to locate. The shop sign isn’t flashy and obvious either. The interior of the shop was extremely small. It could only fit maybe 7 people at one time.

They only operate for dinner and the omakase sushi course costs ¥16000 ($200). It may seem expensive but it’s nothing compared to those available in Singapore where dinners like this costs $280++ at least, at Shinji.

The restaurant is helmed by a single chef (itamae as they call it in Japanese) and I guess his name is Jinsei. There is only one assistant in the shop who does everything else like pouring your tea and cleaning up and I guess it’s his wife.

The food:

The ingredients here are very fresh and well cut and that is already half the battle conquered to produce good sushi. As usual, you won’t see salmon in a restaurant like this. The other half lies in how the chef makes the sushi and how he matches the fish with the various marinades, and generally, his sushi making skills isn’t top notch. It is better than most other places, but his sushi rice and pressing technique isn’t the best I ever had.

Who is this for:

If you aren’t satisfied with having only kaiseki meals and desperately want omakase sushi in Osaka you can try this place. I am not sure what are the better options in Osaka though, but generally for the Kansai region, kaiseki restaurants are more outstanding than sushi restaurants.

Obviously, this is only for people who appreciate sushi like this. If normal conveyor belt or supermarket sushi can satisfy you, there’s no point spending $200 on sushi like this.

Value:

Comparing to similar restaurants in Singapore, the price here isn’t high and the standard is similar. However, I would rather have kaiseki than sushi in Osaka for this price. Do note that Japan isn’t known for being a cheap country comparing to most of asia.

Ambiance:

It is very small and has no ambiance to speak of. This is a true blue homely shop, where everything is kept to no frills. Do note that I am saying it is no frills, not shabby. I do know of a sushi shops in Singapore which has a really shabby interior (the kind where you see their junk being placed everywhere and they’ll mop the floor when you’re having your meal, in front of you), but for this place, you won’t get anything shabby and the experience is still comfortable. The service is also prompt and thoughtful.

Overall thoughts:

This restaurant didn’t surpass my expectations, neither did it fall short. It was pretty much what I expected to get for the price paid and I think there are many other places which are comparable to this, in Osaka. I don’t think I will be rushing to come back given the other options available.

 

Sushi Jinsei 鮨 尽誠

2-1-3 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka

 

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