Approximately 10 minutes by car from Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture, A one-star "Sushi Kibatani" is located near an elegant teahouse district. The owner, Mitsuhiro Kibatani, has a passion for Hokuriku fish and provides a chef's choice course consisting of a combination of tsumami(appetizers) and nigiri sushi.
Mr. Kibatani learned the Edo-style of sushi making in distinguished restaurants such as "Yoshiura"—whose owner studied with Jiro Ono of Ginza "Sukiyabashi Jiro"—in Funabashi and "Sushi Aoki" in Ginza. After completing his training, he returned to his hometown of Toyama, where he helped out at his family's fishmonger business and polished his skills by traveling to different restaurants and providing his services. Then, in 2016, he opened "Sushi Kibatani" in Kanazawa. When asked why he opened his restaurant in this area, which is known for its fierce competition, he explains, "I was often dispatched to a nearby geisha house, and I developed a fondness for the traditional feel of the neighborhood."
Apart from tuna, Mr. Kibatani uses almost exclusively local fish. "Hokuriku is known for its abundance of fish species and excellent seasonal variety. I want people outside of Ishikawa Prefecture to know more about the goodness of the fish in this region." Every morning at 5 o’clock, he heads out to one of the fishing ports in Himi or Shinminato and picks out the very best fish with his sharp eye. Highly knowledgeable about fish, Mr. Kibatani explains, "The fish in Wajima, Noto, and Toyama bay are all completely different, so I can get a good mix. Also, many of the local fish have strong flavors, so instead of expending a lot of time and effort in preparing them, I simply serve them with a little twist." He's also well known for his skill in fish aging techniques, and the exquisite way that he prepares white-fleshed fish like tuna, squid, and sea bream leave his discerning regulars groaning with pleasure. When making vinegared rice, he uses a blend of red vinegar and rice vinegar to strike a perfect balance with the taste of the fish.
For alcohol, Mr. Kibatani keeps a selection of Ishikawa Prefecture sake brands, including Shiragiku and Gorin, as well as wine made on "Says Farm" in Himi. The store interior features traditional earthen walls, which Mr. Kibatani says is to create a warm atmosphere similar to that of "Soba Kyobun" in Takaoka, where he worked for 5 years. In addition to his use of local fish, small touches like the restaurant banner, which was drawn by a local calligrapher, proclaim his love for the Hokuriku region. With his warm personality and lively conversation skills, Mr. Kibatani draws sushi lovers from not only Hokuriku but also from Tokyo and the rest of the country. There are 9 seats at his counter, from which his regulars delight in the sublime taste of Hokuriku fish all year round.
*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.
10-minute by taxi Kanazawa Station, Exit East(JR Hokuriku Shinkansen ,Hokuriku Line)