The secret of Kanoyama is this: You have to sit at the sushi bar and order the “super omakase,” in which chef owner Nobuyuki Shikanai composes the menu for you and hands you your sushi piece by piece.
Having returned several times now, I’ve learned how it works best. The super omakase is not just sushi but a combination of chef-chosen dishes from the kitchen and can include both sashimi and sushi. I usually do ask for both as, in my experience, ordering sashimi seems to bring the price down a little as, by the time I’m done with the sashimi, I’m halfway full. But it really depends on what’s good that day and how much it costs, hence “no limit.” Also, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are good as there’s fish coming directly from Japan on those days.
Chef Nobuyuki Shikanai looks young and is extremely congenial, which adds to the whole experience. Apart from the seven-seated sushi bar, the restaurant caters to those who like American sushi. But business is business, and as long as I know where to find good sushi, I don’t care what others are eating. And there’s no doubt that Kanoyama is bustling night after night, so their balancing act seems to be the secret to success.