Leif The Viking Dreams of Jiro Dreams of Sushi

When I was a young fella, I never thought I would like sushi. The words “raw fish” never struck me as appealing or tasteful. I’m a Swedish meatballs-and-potatoes kind of guy, born and bred. Rice? Funny smelling fish? Nah, I’m good.

I first tried sushi around the time I started college. Call it experimentation. After that? HOOKED. I’m sure you can relate. I wish this documentary would have opened my eyes then, or even sooner. Jiro Ono’s story of the building of his restaurant business is heartwarming, hunger-inducing and just plain satisfying.

His passion and undeniable skill has led him (and his two sons, among many beloved staffers) to own TWO restaurants in Japan. The flagship restaurant in Tokyo has earned a highly coveted Michelin three-star rating, and the second, managed by his youngest son, has a seemingly meager two-star rating. Restaurateurs work for decades without achieving even one star. His family has two and three star establishments because they simply love what they do, and frankly, are damn good at it. Did I mention he’s now about 87 years old?

Throughout the piece, expect to have your mind blown by what you may see as “simple” sushi when ordering it on a menu at one of the many great sushi places around the Twin Cities (or abroad). The way Jiro and his team places a simple piece of fish on a bed of rice is suddenly turned into one of the most beautiful things to grace a television screen. Whether it be the freshest cut of tuna or his highly-sought after rice, the techniques that go into presenting this food at $300 per person are elegant and astounding due to the simplicity and grace behind the scenes.

Beyond the food, director David Gelb’s cinematography and choice of locations really bring the whole piece together. Rather than just a kitchen or a restaurant vibe, the crew shot on location at fish markets, Jiro’s two restaurants and around Japan. The soundtrack is a phenomenal pairing. Philip Glass’ work goes perfectly with the shots, emotion and flavors of the documentary.

I’m so glad Independent Lens decided to pick this up! Rewire will be watching it right there with you. Pass the soy sauce!

Independent Lens will be airing Jiro Dreams of Sushi at 10:30pm on Sunday, December 29th, on tpt 2