Michelin 2-star sushi restaurant in Ishikawa. Uncompromising devotion to Noto-style sushi.
"Sushidokoro Mekumi" is a Michelin 2-star sushi restaurant in a quiet residential area of Nonoichi, near Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. It is about 30-minute taxi ride from Kanazawa city center, but food lovers from all over the country travel here to be captivated by the cuisine of Yamaguchi Takayoshi, a sushi craftsman who is fanatical about the fish he uses to create his dishes.
Mr. Yamaguchi started out at "Hokake," a well-established sushi restaurant in Ginza. He trained at several other restaurants in Tokyo, and then returned home to Ishikawa, where he opened "Sushidokoro Mekumi" in 2002. The ethos of his cuisine is "Food that is in harmony with Ishikawa". He wants his customers to be able to really "feel" the sea of Ishikawa when they visit. The sushi served here is Noto-style, the chef's unique interpretation of traditional "Edo-style" sushi. He drives 250 kilometers every morning, spending a couple of hours in the car going to the harbor at Nanao in Noto to buy fresh fish. As soon as he gets back to the restaurant, he starts his preparations, diligently ensuring that his regional ingredients are in peak condition when the sushi is served. He doesn't have any time to waste by sleeping.
The taste of the food is totally pure - no flavor is off or out of place. Yamaguchi-san's skill is based on a principle of scrupulous investigation and research into each of the ingredients. For instance, the optimal period for maturing the flavors of a fish like "Buri" (yellowtail) is 2 weeks. He has studied fatty acids, inosinic acid and amino acid components in detail, and has carefully measured how long it takes for the umami flavors to develop. As a result, he knows how to ensure that the ingredients are at the pinnacle of their flavor when they are served. For an ingredient like abalone, its fat content varies depending on the time of year. Yamaguchi-san works out the amount of collagen contained and calculates the optimal time for steaming. With hair crabs, he looks at each crab individually and adjusts the cooking time accordingly, sometimes by only a matter of seconds. He even works with Tokyo University researchers to study the components and aromas of different flavors in more detail.
His vinegared rice is prepared in a unique way, blending Sasanishiki and Sasaki Gure rice to bring out its succulent flavors, ensuring that none of its delicious qualities are lost during the cooking process. Mr. Yamaguchi says, "With my sushi, the fish on top and the rice underneath must complement each other perfectly, like husband and wife. One flavor should not overpower the other. It is a 50:50 match."
To enrich the experience of the food at "Sushidokoro Mekumi," he serves 10 kinds of sake with an emphasis on sake from Hokuriku, as well as pairings with Chinese tea or 6 varieties of Japanese tea. The 7-seat counter is made from a single piece of straight grain Hinoki cypress. Mr. Yamaguchi sharp eye and awareness of detail extend even to the tableware and utensils he uses in the restaurant. All the dishes are presented on Ishikawa "Kutaniyaki" pottery from Suda Seika kiln to provide the perfect environment for the meal.
*The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 10-minute by taxi Nonoichi-shi Station(JR Hokuriku Line)
A 10-minute by taxi Mattou Station(JR Hokuriku Line)