DESTINATION RESTAURANTS 2021
April 12, 2021
Thanks to its proximity to the Sea of Japan coast, Kanazawa is famous for its fresh seafood. But for chef Takayoshi Yamaguchi, it is still not up to his quality standards. That is why he sets off each morning to drive hundreds of kilometers to source ingredients he will use that day at his acclaimed seven-seat sushiya, Mekumi.
Yamaguchi opened Mekumi in 2002 in a residential area of Nonoichi on the outskirts of Kanazawa. Initially he followed the Tokyo style of sushi known as edomae, which he learned while training in the capital. But over the years he has developed an approach all his own, reflecting his rigorous devotion to quality.
He drives to ports on the Noto Peninsula north of Kanazawa to inspect fish as they are landed, selecting only those he feels are fresh enough. To keep them in optimal condition, he uses a preservation technique known as shinkei-jime, and has developed methods of packing them upright rather than on their side to protect them on the long drive back.
Yamaguchi is no less particular about the rice he uses for his sushi. He prefers the lesser-known Sasashigure variety, which he sources from farmers who still follow the traditional way of drying the grain outside in the sun.
The results speak for themselves. For his work and devotion to improving quality standards, Yamaguchi has been recognized with awards from the Japanese government and two stars in the local Michelin Guide. Not surprisingly, Mekumi draws customers from near and far, especially during the eagerly anticipated crab season in winter.
4-48 Shimobayashi, Nonoichi, Ishikawa Pref. 921-8831, Japan