The pinnacle of restaurant success is the elusive three star Michelin rating. Begun in 1900, the guides chronicle the best of the best in gustatory delight. The world round there are roughly eighty restaurants with this vaunted accomplishment. The best restaurants in Los Angeles could only muster two stars but as many know the LA Guide was summarily panned. One of the eighty celebrated restaurants is a simple sushi den in the basement of a Tokyo train station. So small in fact much of the preparation is done in the hallway outside the restaurant before anyone arrives. It is Sukiyabashi Jiro and its eighty-five year old Shokunin (traditional sushi master) is Jiro Ono. He is the subject of the beautiful new documentary JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI.
The Monster checked out an advance screening last night and anyone who loves sushi, anyone who spends hour dreaming about food, anyone who has ever strived for perfection in the culinary arts will be sure to find delight in this film. As food porn it is highly successful and afterward The Monster thought about stopping off at Sushi Zo but ended up getting a burrito instead (very LA it seems). As a portrait of a man and his quest for absolute perfection it is fascinating. As an honest look at Jiro it can be called into question. This is a paean to the master, a love letter that never digs deep enough into his oft talked about temper, his tumultuous relationship with his two sons and his brusque service style that leaves many scratching their heads and believing they have been duped. A meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro may be a three star Michelin experience but it also comes at astronomically high prices and may last a mere fifteen minutes. The film comes out March 9th for all lovers of food.