Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary film that chronicles the life of 85 year old sushi chef Jiro Ono. His tiny 10 seat restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, is located in a Tokyo office building basement near a Ginza district subway station. The humble surroundings conceal its highly regarded culinary status. It was the first sushi restaurant in Japan to be awarded 3 Michelin Stars. Jiro’s youngest son operates a second Sukiyabashi Jiro in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, but without the master chef, it has only earned 1 Michelin Star.
Chef Jiro has been officially recognized by the Japanese government as a national treasure for his contributions to modern Japanese cuisine. And travel guides around the world proclaim him to be the world’s greatest sushi chef.
There are no menus at Sukiyabashi Jiro. The price for the Omakase (chef’s choice) meal is about $350 to $450 (not including cost of alcohol drinks), which features 18 to 22 individually prepared portions of sashimi and sushi. Plus fresh fruit for dessert. The price and number of dishes vary slightly each season, depending on what ingredients are available. And customers must remember to stop by an ATM machine, because credit cards are not accepted, you must pay in cash.
This restaurant is so exclusive, that it requires that all customers must be fluent in Japanese, and foreigners be accompanied by a local Japanese. New customers need a company to vouch for them, and promise payment if they skip their reservation. Only the Roppongi location accepts reservations by foreigners, and has no language restrictions. Hords of customers happily accept these demands, for a chance to sample Jiro’s exquisitely fresh seafood and meticulous preparations.
Praised by film critics, the film provides plenty of food porn, as well as insights into the intricate steps and dedication required to run a top notch sushi restaurant. This is an exclusive limited engagement screening lasting just one week, until Thursday, March 29, 2012. The first Bay Area stop in the film’s tour of 80 U.S. cities.
Showtimes at Embarcadero Center Cinema are: 12:20 pm, 2:40 pm, 4:50 pm, 7:20 pm and 9:30 pm. On Friday, there will be a special appearance by Director David Gelb for a Q&A session after the 7:20 pm show, and he will also introduce the 9:30 pm show. Concurrently showing at Shattuck Cinemas in downtown Berkeley, showtimes are: 1:25 pm, 3:25 pm, 5:25 pm, 7:30 pm and 9:35 pm.
Video Credit: Tribeca Film