What’s the best sushi restaurant in the world? According to many in Japan, not to mention the Michelin Guide, it’s a modest little hole-in-the-wall sushi bar tucked inside a Tokyo subway station, and run by 85-year-old Jiro Ono.
Ono is the subject of "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi," a lovingly crafted little foodie documentary that makes no great claims for itself, yet has moments of nirvana for sushi lovers.
It’s certainly no surprise that the tall, joky, youthfully spry Jiro is a born perfectionist. Yet the allure of "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi" is his devotion to simplicity. He has found magic in preparing the same elemental cuts, over and over again, for 70 years.
Just looking at his sushi is a mouth-watering experience, yet the movie also takes us deep inside the kitchen rituals of sushi, like, for instance, the many steps it takes to prepare the special breed of white rice that Jiro chooses.
His restaurant doesn’t even serve any appetizers. Instead, he prepares a special tasting menu that involves 20 pieces of sushi, served one at a time.
Watching "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi," there’s a lesson for Americans, and even for New Yorkers who revere the terrific sushi available here. It’s that devotion, in food as in life, doesn’t always need to be changed or fiddled with or improved upon. It’s more like a prayer to be observed, with due reverence, day after day.
"Jiro Dreams Of Sushi" is about a man who seems to have discovered, through his immersion in sushi, the secret of life. By the end, the movie produces that savory-smooth sensation known in Japan as “umami,” roughly translated as “Ahhh!”