4212 Convoy St., yelp
Sshhh.. You are entering a holy shrine of sushi. Speak in a hushed voice lest the fish – fresh as sea foam – take offense and swim off in a huff.
Dokoro Shirahama is small, elegant, very expensive, and – as noted – very quiet. The website says they’ve been in business 25 years: it looks like a mom and pop affair, pop with a heavy knife frowning over his perfect little fishies, and mom taking orders in a whisper. I blew a shocking fifty bucks for lunch here – not including sake, of which they apparently have an epicure’s treasury – and I certainly didn’t feel I had been ripped off: the quality of both ingredients and preparation was excellent. Considering the state of the world’s oceans, all sushi should probably cost this much, but it must be hard finding folks up for paying for it on a Tuesday noon. And mom and pop are making no compromises to quality or tradition. There are no California rolls here, no fancy sauces, no Mexican fusions, just little pieces of fish on little rectangles of rice. My Spanish mackerel came with a little arrangement of spring onions: decadence! I’ve got to say, there was a touch of quirkiness above and beyond the strictness here, a hard to define air of mania; the wasabi and pickled ginger, for instance, which came on the first wooden tray they brought had to be moved from tray to successive tray because they begrudged you more after the first batch.
A lot of date-night restaurants offer a “special” experience and charge you for it, then that “special” experience has to be manufactured with interior design, chummy waitstaff, music, views, or vertical arrangements of arugula. But here at Sushi Dokoro Shirahama, the specialness is not pretense: it arises directly from the ingredients, the otherworldly rigor, and a set of rules and manners you don’t quite understand.