Recommended Kappo in Osaka?
Kigawa has been on my radar since I got Ueno San's cookbook last year. The menu format and service is a pure example of kappo cooking. I am thinking about going to Osaka just to eat there. The food is very creative, and there are a lot of very unusual ingredients. Judging by the book I wouldn't say Kigawa is a place that would be easily navigated by a foreigner, but I can't say for sure because I've never been there. It's not often you see a menu with stuff like Hamo eggs and bear nimono. If the food tastes as good as it does in the book it should be worth the trip. If you go please let us know how it is.
We are traveling to Osaka and Kyoto during the November fall foliage season. We had a Kaiseki dinner our last trip. As some others have commented, I am afraid our palate does not appreciate several of the courses in the traditional Kyoto Kaiseki restaurants.
My first question is will many of the Kappo restaurants in Osaka serve items that an American palate will enjoy? We are probably above-average in our adventuring. We eat any type of sushi/sashimi, most meats (not too much organ meats), almost all vegetables, etc.
The second question involves the cost of the recommended Kappo restaurants. For some reason, I do not see a lot of info on pricing on the internet for Kappo (or Kaiseki for that matter). I know from eating sushi omakase in Tokyo the price can vary daily and maybe even by diner. It still would be helpful to know the range of financial commitment. Kaiseki in Kyoto can be all over the map. Wondered what these Osaka kappo experiences range in price? Thanks.
1. Kappo is not as much a method of cooking, but a style of dining. The characters "ka-ppo" refer to both slicing (fish) and boiling (vegetables). Some cuisines (eg. Tokyo sushi) focus on slicing fish, others (eg. Kyoto monk cuisine) focus on boiling vegetables, but Kappo does not dictate what you serve or how you serve it.
Also, the key feature of Kappo today is not necessarily what is cooked, but the setting. Kappo is served at the counter, rather than in a private room (as traditional restaurants do), which is more casual (although not completely casual, given the price).
I should also say that, because Kaiseki is about how/what you cook and Kappo is about how you eat, that Kaiseki restaurants sometimes have a Kappo setting, and Kappo restaurants sometimes serve Kaiseki cuisine. Even when they do not, most Kappo restaurants serve multi-course cuisine which is both local and seasonal (like Kaiseki). It's just that the food is less bound by the poetic/artistic traditions of connoting time and place through symbolic references. There's more freedom.
2. Most of the restaurants are at the lower end of the Y10,000-15,000 range (that's per person, during dinner, before drinks and tax). Some of them will be cheaper, and that seems to be another trait of eating in Osaka - value for money. Kahala (probably the most refined of the lot, while still being very "modern") is double that price, though (from memory: Y25,000 pp, dinner, before drinks and tax).
Mid-August is Obon, so some restaurants won't be open during this period.
One kappo restaurant that I absolutely love is Shimokatsurachaya "Geppa":
* I love the seafood at this place. I don't think you'll have trouble booking dinner.
It's a bit more rustic in appearance than the restaurants you've mentioned; you can see the interior here: http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=%E6%9C%88%E6%B3%A2&layer=c&z=17&sll=34.696110,135.497938&cid=4542088025790904097&panoid=Wci-FMrjf7XeglLb4XoTcw&cbp=13,224.07131184680171,,0,0&hl=en&ved=0CA8Q2wU&sa=X&ei=J5EcUIHSEs2OmQWp5YDoAg
If you want a more up-scale dining experience, I didn't mind the 3-Michelin-starred Koryu:
* Even if dinner is booked out, lunch should be really easy to get into.
I'm sure it's already too late to get into the ever-popular Masuda, but you might get lucky:
The following restaurants were mentioned in a local Osaka restaurant guide, and might be worth a try:
* Imamura: http://tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270105/27002646/
* Kaishoku Shimizu: http://tabelog.com/osaka/A2702/A270201/27015533/
* Konoha: http://tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270102/27007777/
* Yuno: http://tabelog.com/osaka/A2702/A270201/27015761/
There's also another restaurant, although it's not close to Osaka city (it's closer to the airport):
* Kasho: http://tabelog.com/osaka/A2705/A27050...
Kahala definitely fits the bill. It's difficult to classify that restaurant.
They highlight Japanese ingredients. The dishes have a minimalist, austere restraint about them and the wine is selected to take the back seat to the food. There's a kind-of "hassun" plate near the beginning, and tea near the end. These might be Japanese traits.
But the presentation of the meal, and the use of non-typical Japanese ingredients, points to something more original.
You might also want to try "kamoshiya Kusumoto." It seems to be well-regarded online:
Here's the interior:
I haven't been to Kigawa, nor Kigawa Asai.
But Kigawa is on my list, for three reasons:
1) the a-la-carte menu, as you've mentioned (with 100-150 items, it would take me forever to read them)
2) the fact that Kigawa touts itself as "naniwa-kappo," Kigawa Asai as "osaka-ryori," and I get the impression from the look and feel that it really does try to bring some local colour to the ambience
3) it was the place which trained the chef from Koryu, who also tries to use local Osakan ingredients and make Osakan references in his food (the sashimi platter at Koryu is called a "garden of fish," which is pronounced "naniwa": a pun on the old name for Osaka). I rather liked Koryu as I've said.