“Have you seen the Jiro Dreams Of Sushi documentary?” – everyone ever
Seriously, if you still haven’t seen the documentary Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, currently streaming on Netflix, you need to get your life together. That, or you need some more cultured friends to suggest these kind of things to you. The film follows Jiro, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of the Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. The restaurant has been given three Michelin stars, which is described as offering “exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey”. There are, surprisingly, 11 three-star restaurants in the U.S. One of them is French Laundry in Napa Valley, which you may know from a Drake song. Jiro has dedicated his entire life to the art of sushi making, and the film follows him and his two sons, also sushi chefs.
Dining at Jiro’s restaurants isn’t some run-of-the-mill experience, which is why it was surprising to learn that Questlove had a chance to visit. He documented his entire meal, as well as reasons for going and what he got out of it on Twitter and Instagram. Read it all below.
8 hours til Jiro. i cannot sleep!!!! #tokyo
— Questo of The Roots (@questlove) January 24, 2013
6:30am. T minus 5 hours. #Jiro #tokyo
— Questo of The Roots (@questlove) January 25, 2013
For those that don’t know. The journey that leads to this series of photos started when my ex & I were trying to see The Artist to no avail. Date Nights were far and few between and I didn’t want the night to be a total loss. In the next theater was some documentary about sushi. Eh…I was tired anyways….but then when I read the Rotten Tomatoes reviews (99%) I was like “hmmmm why not?…I like sushi, lemme see what’s up”. What I saw changed my life. It wasn’t a mere film about the worlds greatest sushi innovator. This was Gladwelll’s Outliers come to life. This was my lifes path before me: a man whose tireless work ethic and drive in pursuit of perfection. I tell people all the time the ultimate occupation is the one you are willing to wake up at 4am for and go to bed at 3:59am with no complaints. It’s about artistry and commitment to a craft. It’s about how a human hides his pain and redirects it to a work of art. Once a commentator mentioned that making a pilgrimage halfway around the world for a mere sampling of food is worthy of the perfect unattainable 3 star Michelin rating I knew then and there where I wanted to spend my birthday. Thing was my bday was some 9 months after this film came out. And with my schedule there was no telling if I’d be free for this trek. So I made a ove on faith: planned my trip blind and prayed by September I’d be cool. The risk is you don’t wanna plan a 5 figure lunch trek without the verification being iron clad. I thought September…..truth was I wasn’t 100% confirmed (no fallon, no DJ gig, roots okay with us turning down inauguration, and Jiro giving us the “ok” until 3 weeks ago…..6 months after I $helled out arrangements. Talk about faith! My boy OJ is on the left (his family placed a call to a person who called a person who called someone from government to vouch on my behalf) my manager @ dawnenglehart aka @missmaoyen is on the right. We were told 11: 30 sharp. It’s 11:34 here…we felt like Michael Jackson when he was late to court and rushing in his pjs. We just made it!!!! #QuestToJiro
Gotta tell you, the tension and pressure in that small arse space (long counter for 10!!!!! Ha! My spot has him beat by 6 chairs!—-wait did i just let the cat out the ba—-uh nevermind that for now) thing is he is 88 years old and has his entire staff uptight so they are super scowly and it was like I didn’t know if I should inhale or not. Soon thereafter I started having nightmares about dropping the food. Should I use my hands like I saw in the movie? or should I use chopsticks like my mama taught me? All these panic stricken questions. What if he Homer Simpsons me making me eat Blowfish? Should I shave my head bald as to not scare him? Will he let me take photos? I wasn’t this afraid to breathe in an establishment since the first time I set foot in Will Smith’s crib. So by the time this mo descript pic was taken I was 3 mins into my chair. They went down with the rules: you sit, you be quiet, he will feed you. Look nice (yes@melodyehsani I rocked the picnic table jawn) no hats (I removed pic) and you got 20 mins. The guide on the left is less a menu and more of a story. You will eat 16 pieces. And you are gonna love it. #questtojiro
Masters At Work. My interpretation is that he wants to tell a story with his sushi. The first round all savory. The next round all spicy. Round three is buttery and dreamy. Around four is more about texture and less about taste. And then for his stroke of genius act of round five: is the sweetest fish ever known to man. It’s literally a roller coaster of taste. #questtojiro
In case you’re wondering: Yes! The food absolutely glistens just like it looks in the movie. I didn’t want to be “that guy” Who Instagram’s every bite… but by this point he understood our enthusiasm. So with his permission we respectfully took shots of our food before consuming. This is the semi fatty tuna, the 5th out of 19 pieces he made for us one at a time. #questtojiro
More magic from Jiro. I believe this is the Jack Mackerel. #questtojiro
This Fatty Tuna (for those that seen the film when he goes to the docks to bid on the auctioned fish? THIS IS THAT FISH!!!!!!—This was clearly the turning point of the meal. I never had sushi melt so smooth…. ever!!!!! — I mean —it was like butter! Like there was 0 chewing. It just disappeared. #questtojiro
I swear there is no filter. #questtojiro
The Kurumaebi (Boiled Prawn) the precision they used to cut this bad boy open ever so slightly. And stuffing it with his on lockdown special rice…these guys coulda EASILY been surgeons. It takes special skilled hands to cut the perfect slice of fish and hold the rice together.
Seriously you have debates with yourself on whether to eat it. Look at it. Snap it. Or preserve it. This couple was crazier than me!! #questtojiro
Now this right here!!!! Wow!!!!! There was a point in the film in which you saw him. Giving a four hour massage to a dead octopus. I have to meant when I first saw it I thought “ehhh I dunno bout that”. I mean I really did think “money is crazy” a 4 hour process to relax some dead muscles? I couldn’t wait to try this four hour muscle relaxed treat of an octopus. I had my doubts…..but when I tried it? I was like Popeye to spinach. Member when Michael Jackson tried that tonic in the “Say Say Say” video and it made him dance? You don’t? Google it. I didn’t dance, but damn if I wasn’t in my head doing TAMI show James Brown splits singing “Nightrain” (Sting fans feel me…..yes even my referenced references have footnote references, which makes ME not Dennis Miller the king of references Mr David Cross)
Jiro coulda easily been a DJ yo. #questtojiro
All good things must come to an end. And how does he end it? The shocker of all shockers—The clear winner of the night was (drumroll please) The honeydew melon!?!!!? There was more juice in this honeydew melon than in Ernest Dickerson’s entire screenplay that made 2pac a star. Okay I’m reachin…but this melon served as a trick: Mostly to clean your pallet and make you forget everything you just consumed in the last 30 minutes. It was like the food version of the men in black flashy thing. We ended our meal in 41 mins some 21 mins over the expected time. #questtojiro
By the end Jiro had really warned up to us (he gave me an encore of my 3 favorite pieces for the road: I choose the Fatty Tuna, the Massaged Octopus, and the Tamago Egg Custard he made his son make over 200 times Ina month for practice before he felt like his son was ready for the big time. He literally made that egg dish taste like yellow cake! That’s how rich it was!!!!!!! It was beyond awesome of him to grant me a photo. He seemed touched when he learned that I made a pilgrimage over here from the US after watching this film 10 times. #questtojiro
New Friends. J-Iro Changed My Life #questtojiro