[Tokyo] Ginza Shimada 銀座しまだ - Standing Izakaya

Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Just came back from Tokyo for my birthday trip and my first dinner was at Ginza Shimada - a high end izakaya in Ginza with standing room only! Standing bar is nothing new in Tokyo but it was my first time eating gourmet food while standing up. The head chef Hiroshi Shimada used to work at 3* kaiseki restaurant Azabu Yukimura and wanted to reach a broader audience by offering his previous creations at a fraction of the price. The lower prices doesn't mean a compromise as he still insists on using top ingredients in his dishes. No reservations accepted generally at the tiny restaurant which has only 14 seats available with 10 standing room around the bar counter and a table for 4 which is available for reservations. The restaurant opens at 5pm and by the time we got there at 5:30pm on a Saturday night, the restaurant was already full but luckily the turnover was rather quick because no one can eat while standing for too long. The counter was more cramped than usual as there were 13 people crowded around a space that was meant for 10 so it wasn't that comfortable to eat there to be honest. Obviously there are better izakaya out there which doesn't require you to stand around a cramped counter, but in general the food at Ginza Shimada was very good value for money considering the consistency and quality as prices ranged from only ¥800-1800 per dish.

We perused the menu which was written in chalk on a chalkboard and ordered a series of dishes starting with the only two sashimi selection available - Kinmedai / 金目鯛 (¥1200) and Houbou / 竹麦魚 (¥1000). It is not unexpected to find good quality sashimi in an izakaya and both of the fish that we tried here was actually pretty good. 

The Sea Urchin with Japanese Spiny Lobster Gelee / ウニの伊勢えびヨュレがけ (¥1600) was a delicate and decadent combination, and while the gelee was deliciously sweet, we couldn't really taste the uni in this dish as the flavor just didn't come through which was a shame. 

The Abalone / 鮑の柔らか煮 (¥1800) was more impressive as it was simmered till soft so the abalone was very soft and tender while flavorful to eat.

The Salt-cured Mullet Roe Buckwheat Noodles / からすみそば (¥1600) is a signature dish here where the soba was served cold with a lot of karasumi grated on top. The noodles were perfectly al dente with a slight chewy mouth feel while the karasumi tasted like the ocean with a salty and briny flavor!

We decided to try some of its cooked dishes as well such as this Duck Stew with Foie Gras / 鴨の治部煮とフォアグラ (¥1400) where the duck was plump yet firm while the flavors were hearty and well-balanced.

The Grilled Japanese Black Wagyu Beef (Chaliapin Steak) / 黑毛和牛焼き (シャリアピン) (¥1800) tasted surprisingly delicious especially with the sweet grated onion topping! The quality of the steak wasn't the superb to be honest but the sauce made all the difference here. Chaliapin Steak is an original Japanese creation which was invented in 1936 by a hotel chef for Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin who was suffering from a toothache and wanted a tender steak. You can check out one of my favorite YouTube channel Cooking with Dog for instructions on how to make your very own Chaliapin Steak! 

Ginza Shimada 銀座しまだ
8-2-8 Ginza Chuo Tokyo 
東京都 中央区 銀座 8-2-8 高坂ビル1F
Tel: +81-3-3572-8972

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