Add: 4/F, 1157 Hongqiao Lu, near Yaohong Lu / 虹桥路1157号4楼，近姚虹路
Tel: 6270 6107
Price: [sets] 600~1000 RMB, [a la carte] 300~600+ RMB/person
Visited on: 2012-07
If you are craving top quality nigiri sushi for dinner but want something lighter than a full-on Sushi Oyama-type of meal, try Maekawa. This understated sushi bar doesn’t have much superfluous flair to it, it simply serves very, very good fish.
Bar seats, always go for the bar seats, but yes tables and private rooms are also available.
Maekawa offers kaiseki sets that range from 600 to 1000 RMB, but we were in the mood for nigiri sushi only and decided to order by the piece. The meal started with Hiramasa 平政 (90 RMB/pc), a type of yellowtail that’s regarded by the Japanese as one of the finest sashimi fish. Its pale pink flesh is firm, sweet, and rich with a higher fat content compared to the other yellowtails. What a luxurious mouthful! I almost want to say that I like this more than tuna belly.
That was followed by an ever-so-lovely Mackerel with vinegar しめさば (50 RMB/pc). Side note: Maekawa’s nigiri sushi seem to have less rice compared to the usual fish:rice ratio, which was just right for me as I was looking for a light meal.
Tuna Belly – Chutoro 本まぐろ 中トロ (80 RMB), an all-time favorite. A lot of people rave about otoro, the fattiest part of the tuna belly, but I personally find it too rich and actually prefer chutoro, which is leaner but still full of flavor.
Scallop 貝柱 (40 RMB), with fresh grated rock salt. Luscious!
Katsuo 鰹 (80 RMB/pc), topped with fresh ginger and a thin slice of garlic. Beautiful red color and exceptionally clean flavor.
Conger eel あなご (50 RMB), such fluffy texture!
Uni うに (85 RMB/pc) from Hokkaido, it doesn’t get much better than this. Served with a piece of seaweed, which I ate after finishing the uni as advised by the sushi chef, though I imagine it would taste lovely with the uni and rice altogether as well.
Scallion Tuna Sushi Roll ねぎとろ巻き(130 RMB/roll of 6 pcs), so simple, so good.
We also ordered a few hot dishes to share, such as this abalone stew (100 RMB), which were nothing mind-blowing but served their purpose in warming up our bellies.
Chawanmushi, a.k.a. steamed egg custard (45 RMB).
Miso soup (35 RMB) made with red miso, VERY salty so I only took a sip.
The sushi chef ended the meal for us with a piece of tamagoyaki 卵焼き, which is Japanese sweet omelet. Perfect ending to our light meal.
What a quick, simple, but totally satisfying meal. Every nigiri sushi I put in my mouth generated a resonating “wow”, and I left feeling fully satiated but not stuffed. Maekawa does not come cheap – our total came up to be over 600 RMB per person with 7 pieces of nigiri sushi each and a few side dishes to share – but you will definitely get top quality ingredients for your money. The only down side about Maekawa is that guests are allowed to smoke in the restaurant, which stained my experience a little bit. Also, unless you speak Japanese, don’t expect Maekawa-san to chit chat with you like Oyama-san does – that’s not part of the deal here.