At a tiny sushi bar in a Tokyo subway quietly and inconspicuously lies one of Japan’s national treasures—a man who can charge 30,000 yen ($360) dollars for 20 morsels of precision sliced sushi and consistently has a backlog of a years worth of bookings for his 3 Michelin starred restaurant which seats just ten people, many of whom fly half way across the world to secure their place. Just what is so good about Jiro Ono‘s sushi? Seventy-six years of practice, an obsessive dedication which leaves Ono literally dreaming of the perfect nori roll and an unwavering belief in constant improvement.
Filmmaker David Gelb‘s documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi charts the octogenarian’s rise from finding himself homeless and alone aged nine to his current sushi super stardom. Whilst the culinary aspect of the film is both engrossing and mouth watering, the piece will teach you more than just how long you must massage an octopus before it is perfect to eat (50 minutes, FYI) through an emphasis on the complex relationship between Ono and his son Yoshikazu, who will eventually take over the family business but most prove himself “twice as good just to be equal”, due to the sheer influence of his father.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an ode to the enticing yet ultimately futile pursuit of perfection, the familial ties that are both a bond and a burden and the joys of rice so delicious that it was likened to “a cloud that explodes in your mouth” by Eric Ripert, who runs acclaimed French restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City. Step away from the $2 california rolls at your local.