Sukiyabashi Jiro is underground, nestled into the wall of a drab Tokyo subway station. The narrow sushi bar seats only 10. The bathroom is outside the restaurant, down the subway corridor. And yet, it is, with very little argument, home of the best raw fish on earth. David Gelb’s Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a loving portrait of Jiro Ono, an octogenarian genius of a sushi-maker whose tiny restaurant was the first sushi shop to earn three Michelin stars, and which charges $300 for meals that last 30 minutes. Though he is industrious—his sous chefs endure months of training just to learn his proprietary rice mixture—there is a constant artistic melody to Ono’s monastic approach. He literally dreams of fatty tuna, still not convinced that, even with the admiration of great chefs from around the world, he has perfected the art of plopping filleted seafood atop a clump of sweet and sticky rice. And the egg sushi—a puffed-up rectangle, golden brown and locked in a band of seaweed, appears beautifully simple when it is finished. But it is the most vexing item on Jiro’s menu, taking years of training to master, and a dish that by itself seems worth a special trip.
The film shows all week at E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $11. (202) 452-7672. showtimes page for times.