Fantastic Kaiseki in Tokyo
I'm in Tokyo for two weeks, and I've got enough budgeted for one more really nice meal before I go home on Friday.
I'd prefer it to be a traditional Japanese kaiseki type meal, and was wondering if someone could recommend a good place to go for it. I'm staying at the ANA Hotel in Tameike/Akasaka, but I'm willing to travel a bit. Must be able to start as late as 7:30 or so since I'm working days.
Price range preferably 15000-20000 yen, although I can go a little higher if need be (or lower if something good can be had for less!)
Looking forward to some great suggestions. Thanks!
Kozue in the Park Hyatt has excellent food and nice pottery, and they're very accessible to English-speaking diners.
You need to stop this work nonsense for a moment and move on to more important stuff like letting us know about your Kaiseki experience.
A Japanese friend recently had kaiseki for LUNCH at Ichimatsu near Asakusa. It was 3,500 yen for lunch, and they also had a 5,000 yen lunch. Apparently it is much more expensive at dinner for the same thing. Reservations are highly recommended.
Surprisingly, they have a Web site.
More surprisingly, there is an English version.
Prices listed on the English web site are higher than what my friend paid, so maybe they have a "tourist rate." In any case, confirm prices when you reserve.
The Japanese side of the website says lunch is Y3675 or Y5250. The English side says it's Y8000. Perhaps that includes an interpreter's fee....
So I ended up at Kikunoi on Tuesday night... what a great recommendation!
The meal and restaurant were, in a word: fantastic! One of the most beautiful--and delicious--meals I've ever had. I've had only one kaiseki style meal to compare it to, at Hashimoto near Toronto. Hashimoto is very special for what/where it is, but doesn't even compare to the "real thing" in tokyo.
Service was top notch, each course was beautifully prepared, and the restaurant itself was a gem in the middle of Tokyo's urban-ness as well. I can't really begin to recall each individual course... although the ones that stood out were the most 'unique'... they brought out a pair of flopping fish in a basket, for example, and seemed to be asking my approval about something (in Japanese)... I just smiled and nodded, and moments later, the fishies show up on my plate, crispy grilled. Now that's fresh!
Other courses were fantastic as well, from sashimi/sushi to various types of mushrooms that came with their own wood grill, and on and on. The only semi-disappointing dish of the night was dessert, but perhaps only in comparison with the rest of the meal. In general, I find Japanese desserts are not my bag, so I may be biased.
Anyway, as I said, it was incredible from start to finish, and I even got to meet some nice people sitting at the counter (and one rather interesting, rather intoxicated older businessman with a very young companion who tried to make me guess how much he'd spent on dinner at the 'number one' kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto).
Major downside was I felt guilty my wife wasn't here to share it with me, as she would have loved it as well, but we'll definitely be making a non-work journey back here in a few years or so, so hopefully it will still be around.
Thanks again for the recommendation, steamer, and for all the other suggestions I sadly don't have time to try out.
PS - Coincidentally, I bought Chef Murata's new book on kaiseki two days before I'd ever heard of his restaurant, and didn't realize the two were related until I got there and he was showing it to some other customers. Funny!