Wednesday, May 23, 2012 | 4:54 p.m.
Although it sometimes strains to fill its brief (barely 80 minutes) running time, David Gelb’s documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a well-crafted tribute to hard-working and humble sushi chef Jiro Ono, whose modest Tokyo restaurant (just 10 seats at a counter, and located in a subway station) has become an internationally renowned phenomenon. Customers make reservations months in advance and spend hundreds of dollars to eat Jiro’s meticulously crafted sushi, and Gelb lovingly captures both the preparation process and the final result. The movie functions well as high-end food porn, but it’s also an insightful character study of the single-minded Jiro and the way he imposes his values on his two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs. Watching the 85-year-old Jiro spend his every waking moment on his life’s work, as he has since he was just a teenager, is both inspiring and somewhat bittersweet.