There’s a restaurant in Tokyo called Nakajima — it’s in the bottom floor of a very nondescript building (if you were just walking by, you wouldn’t even know it’s a restaurant).
And yet it has one Michelin star, and draws some pretty serious crowds thanks to its delightfully cheap sardine-based lunch special. I showed up at around 11:40, which is just ten minutes after they opened, and there was already a line out the door. It took about half an hour to get in.
They have a few things on the menu — all sardine-related, including fried sardines, baked sardines, and some kind of eggy dish involving sardines. My tongue was still pretty badly burned from the ramen the night before, so I went with the sardine sashimi.
It’s not the most photogenic dish I’ve ever had, but it was great. It was about as far from the oily, fishy little guys that you get from the can as you can possibly get. The flavour was surprisingly clean, without even a hint of a fishy funk, and with a nice toastiness from the sesame seeds that are mixed in. A little bit of grated ginger on the side gives it a kick.
The best part? It only cost 800 yen, or just over nine bucks Canadian, which is a ridiculous deal for food of this calibre.