[Tokyo] Kagurazaka Ishikawa 神楽坂 石かわ - 3 Michelin Star Kaiseki
"To bring together the seasons, food and happiness in a harmonious way" - that is the mission behind Kagurazaka Ishikawa, a 3 Michelin star kaiseki restaurant run by Chef Hideki Ishikawa. The entrance was discreet with a small sign that can be difficult to find at night but we managed to find it using Google Maps and we walked down a tiny corridor with a picturesque garden to enter the restaurant. We sat at one end of the 7-seat wooden counter where customized Japanese and English menus were placed in front of us with our names on it, and our 9 course set menu costs ¥22,000 per person excluding tax and service charge.
先附 / Appetizer
Our first course was an appetizer with Horse Hair Crab topped with the crab innards and covered with broth jelly. The tartness of the jelly was appetizing to eat which complemented the sweetness of the crab meat perfectly.
Our fried course was a Baby Ayu Fish and wild vegetables with home blended salt. The batter was so thin and delicate which was lovely to eat with the sweet sauce on the plate.
The soup came in a beautifully ornate bowl and as we took off the lid, we were immediately engulfed in a pleasant aroma from the Japanese pepper bud which made us feel like we were in the forest. The Hand Clam and Simmered Turnip soup was soothing light and sweet to drink.
造り / Sashimi
Our sashimi course included several dishes starting with Makogarei (solefish) sashimi and Uni (sea urchin)from Hokkaido.
The uni served here was super fresh and even better than the ones we had at the sushi restaurants we've visited on this trip!
We were then served a glass of Tai no Shirako (sea bream's milt) with a refreshing acidic sauce. It was good but the ones we had at Sushi Sho were even better.
The Ise-Ebi (Japanese spiny lobster) had been lightly seared with a raw center and served with its own roe and tomalley.
焼物 / Charcoal-grilled
Our next dish was a perfectly grilled Nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch) but it was the asparagus which surprised us with its deliciously sweet flavors!
中皿 / Delicacy
The Thinly Sliced Wagyu Beef was buttery soft and paired with bamboo shoot and warabi (fiddleheads) in a sweet and thick sauce.
煮物 / Hot Pot
The hot pot dish was a Spear Squid and seasonal vegetables served in a dashi broth. The squid was interesting as it was filled with its own eggs so the texture was a bit creamy on the inside.
食事 / Steamed Rice
The chef came by to present the rice course which was topped with Cherry Salmon and served miso soup and pickled vegetables. Being from Niigata which is famous for its high quality rice, he was obviously very proud of this dish and the only one that he seems to be keen on presenting to every customer. He smiled when I was taking the picture but my zoom lens on my camera did not allow me to capture his friendly smile unfortunately.
デザート / Dessert
Lastly, our last course and dessert of the night was Caramel Mousse with fresh strawberry, red beans and crushed rum jelly. While I wasn't so keen on the rum jelly, I loved the richness of the caramel mousse and it ended up balancing the other ingredients really well.
Kaiseki cuisine aims to balance the taste, texture, appearance and colors of food using fresh seasonal ingredients which are prepared in ways to enhance their flavors, and I think Ishikawa achieved that and more as all of his dishes were prepared with a lot of care and thought into it. Maybe my expectations were too high as I wasn't wholly blown away by the food but the friendly service and atmosphere certainly helped to enhance the overall dining experience as well!
Kagurazaka Ishikawa 神楽坂 石かわ
5-37 Kagurazaka Shinjuku Tokyo
東京都 新宿区 神楽坂 5-37
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