Sushi Yamanaka is a small sushi restaurant in Fukuoka. It is located near the western end of the Tenjin underground shopping gallery. From the Loft department store, you can walk there in 10 minutes. That is, if you do not get lost, because it is situated in a labyrinth of small streets with little sign posting and whatever street signs there are are in Japanese. It is housed in a small cubical concrete building which gives you no clue that a restaurant was in operation inside. It is advisable to take a taxi for even when you are dropped off at the main entrance you have doubts as to whether you had arrived at the correct address. There is a pair of large metal doors, with no windows and no sign of activity. Stepping closer, the doors slide open automatically revealing a warm bustling interior and a smiling welcoming staff member. It is a small place with about 15 seats at a long and lovely wooden sushi bar and a few tables seating about another 15 patrons. Reservations are essential.
For lunch, there was a wide range of set course options or you can order a la carte. The set courses range from simple quick lunches to a full kaiseki course. We decided on the omakase course, which sits just below the kaiseki courses. Once the order was placed, we were at the mercy of the chef since omakase meant we left the course in his good hands. Of course we were not disappointed. His skillful hands crafted piece after piece of pure happiness. The sea urchin was a delight and so were the squid and prawn, all of which had the taste and texture as if they had just emerged from the sea.
The otoro (tuna belly) had the sweetness and creaminess that can only be found in the best of tuna sashimi. Sadly, the chawan mushi and miso soup were eventually served, signaling the impending end of the meal, which was closed with a few tasty maguro sushi rolls. It was a superb meal. At the price of 5,000 yen per head for the omakase course (not including drinks), this was a bargain for the premium level of sushi which was served on that day.
2-8-8 Watanabedori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, Japan