Finally paid. Visit to this venerable establishment. That the chef is as much an art collector as a chef is evidence from the various art collection inside the shop.
Had high hopes, but I found the meal rather underwhelming. The chef used both cottonseed oil and sesame oil. The ebi was juicy but u distinguished, the ebi heads however was wonderful. The chef varied the heat used for different item. Next came kisu, ika, uni, metogochi, shirako, ginko nuts. All rather unimpressive except the ika and shirako. The ika was tender and fragrant. The shirako was almost milky in texture. For the vegetable items, there were several to choose from, but my eggplant and asparagus were disappointments. My eggplant tasted bitter and was oily. I had had much better eggplant at SEIJU. The asparagus was chewy and thin, I recalled Kondo's asparagus was much sturdier and juicier. Next, I found the anago too oily. While it is normal to use greater heat for anago, my anago tasted more like deep fried anago than tempura. Consequently, the anago was disturbingly greasy. Then tencha was surprisingly good. In the middle of the meal, they chef a kaiseki stole soup, also uninspiring. Before I barely finished my tencha, I was used to the third floor for dessert, I later found out they had a second seating. Service was courteous but the waitress kept forgetting to replenish my radish and tea. The bill ran 16000yen, too pricy for a lunch that left much room for improvement.
Oh, yes, his counter is like a 'salon', if we can say it this way, it is a kind of Japanese rococo, too much decoration. By the way, he collections buddha also.
I went there actually 4 years ago ... it was chef Saotome at that time, I had great asparagas(not chewy), and the 'anago' served was, suprisingly, the whole anago; so I can imagine if it was that oily, it must have been hard to finish it. It is not only the hit that changes, but also the water and the ingredients it contains is important. The anago is usually just with removed skinpart, powered to get not oily and crusty. My lunch was at 10,000.-yens. I felt that chef Saotome has a strong taste for ingredients usually, but it seems like he has some inconsistent days..