Cheery chef Shigeru Hirano often greets customers at the door of his new-ish (opened in October 2010) restaurant Shigueru, which, with its light, family-orientated feel, is more countryside staple than Toyko flashy. The veteran sushiman, who has been behind the counter at Tanuki in Vila Madalena since 2004, promises a more traditional, honest approach to Japanese food in this clean, zen environment.
Before you’ve even had a chance to make sense of the menu, complimentary tasters arrive: gyoza frita (pork-filled fried dumpling) and marisco marinado (marinated mussels). As is the tradition in Japan, the menu changes with the seasons, so one way into the comprehensive menu is to ask the staff what’s good.
Our tip is to start off with the lula recheada com shimeji (grilled squid stuffed with shimeji mushrooms) and one of the various types of carpaccio: ussukuri with peixe branco (white fish), salmon, tuna and octopus, or a mix of the lot, served with truffle oil. The bento boxes are a safe bet, but we say be adventurous and try the exotic sushi house specials: the strong-tasting uni (sea urchin), anago (eel) or foie gras (goose liver). For a mixed feast, go for the combinado Jô (R$135) with a mix of 42 sushi, sashimi and urumaki.