Jiro Ono’s Sushi Restaurant Is So Exclusive It Lost Its Michelin Stars

With or without the stars, good luck getting a reservation.
Bettina Makalintal
Brooklyn, US
November 26, 2019, 6:30pm
Screenshot via YouTube

We know that Jiro Ono dreams of sushi, but he might now have to also add Michelin stars to the stuff of his imagination. The 94-year-old sushi chef's acclaimed Sukiyabashi Jiro—which viewers around the world were introduced to in the heartwarming 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi—has been stripped of its three Michelin stars in the company's latest guide, per The Guardian.

That doesn't mean that the high-end sushi restaurant's quality has gone down, however, as tends to be implied by the loss of stars. Rather, the celebrity-frequented Sukiyabashi Jiro has simply gotten too exclusive.

"We recognize Sukiyabashi Jiro does not accept reservations from the general public, which makes it out of our scope," a representative for Michelin told the Guardian in a statement. "It was not true to say the restaurant lost stars but it is not subject to coverage in our guide. Michelin’s policy is to introduce restaurants where everybody can go to eat."

Despite Michelin's distinction in wording, the point remains the same: Sukiyabashi Jiro used to have three Michelin stars, the highest a restaurant can earn, and now it will not. Chances are, the loss of stars isn't going to lessen Jiro's prestige, anyway; the restaurant's A-list fans include Barack Obama.

Either way, chances are, you—a normal person—are not actually going to be able to eat there. If the cost of the omakase dining experience (40,000 yen, or about $366, not including tax, the flight to Japan, and lodging in Tokyo) doesn't stop you, the difficulty of getting a reservation certainly will. The topic has been the subject of many a travel guide, which recommend tricks like going through the concierge of a hotel on good terms with the restaurant or having a Japanese speaker make the phone reservation on your behalf.

Regardless, with only 10 seats, the restaurant's website states that it's not even currently taking phone reservations. "We at Sukiyabashi Jiro wish it were possible to accommodate all guests at our restaurant, but this is unfortunately not possible given the reality of our situation," it says.

Whether the restaurant has Michelin stars or not, Jiro will continue being a master of sushi, his food will continue to be delicious, and the reservations will continue to be impossible to acquire. Good for Jiro.