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What May Be World's Best Sushi Place Now Has No Stars

Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo no longer ranked by Michelin because it's too exclusive
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 12:53 PM CST
Then-President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speak with chef Jiro Ono at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo on April 23, 2014.   (Wikimedia/The White House)

(Newser) – The 2020 Michelin Guide for Tokyo includes 226 restaurants with at least one star, more than any other city, per Eater. But a restaurant widely regarded as the world's best for sushi isn't one of them, reports the Guardian. Sukiyabashi Jiro—where former President Obama reportedly had the best sushi of his life in 2014—has received a three-star ranking each year since Michelin's Tokyo guide was introduced in 2007. Its 94-year-old chef, Jiro Ono, is still busy in the kitchen, but he currently serves only to regulars, guests with special connections, or those who book through a luxury hotel concierge. And apparently that's too exclusive for Michelin.

"Michelin's policy is to introduce restaurants where everybody can go to eat," explains a rep. It's not so much that the restaurant lost its stars as it is that Sukiyabashi Jiro is "out of our scope," he says. The restaurant and its owner may be most familiar to people as the subject of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Another three-star Tokyo restaurant, Sushi Saito, was omitted from the latest guide for the same reason. The Japan Times reports Sushi Saito is "out of reach without personal introductions." That leaves 11 three-star restaurants in Tokyo, including the new addition of Kadowaki by chef-owner Toshiya Kadowaki. (Read more restaurants stories.)

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