Seizan | Tokyo | Jan ’15

15 Mar
  • Rating: 17.5/20
  • Address: 2 Chome-17-29 Mita, Minato, Tokyo 108-0073, Japan
  • Phone: +81 3 3451 8320
  • Price: JPY15,000 (124 USD at 1 USD = 121.39 JPY)
  • Value: 3.5/5
  • Chef: Haruhiko Yamamoto
  • Michelin Stars: 2

 

2015-01-30 18.43.10 2015-01-30 18.43.15 2015-01-30 18.43.34

Raining.

Seizan  (日本料理 晴山) is helmed by a young 34 year-old chef, Haruhiko Yamamoto. The food is elegant, and relies on the high quality of its ingredients, rather than on sauces. It is in the same vein of harmonious great-ingredient cooking as Ginza Kojyu, though I felt the harmonies at Kojyu were slightly better (the dishes at Kojyu have also been on the menu longer). I visited this place because Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa of DEN mentioned Seizan was one of his favorite restaurants. It was well-worth the visit, and I believe Seizan has an even chance of being the next Kojyu.

Other reviews:


 

2015-01-30 18.44.42 2015-01-30 18.44.54 2015-01-30 18.49.20 2015-01-30 18.50.42 2015-01-30 18.50.50 2015-01-30 18.50.57

福井 黒龍 特選吟醸 (Fukui Kokuryu Tokusen Ginjo). Sweet and dry. Good. (4/5)

http://www.urbansake.com/sake/kokuryu-tokusen-ginjo

2015-01-30 18.52.46 2015-01-30 18.52.51 2015-01-30 18.53.38 2015-01-30 18.57.49

Shirako (cod milt) based soup with scallops and mochi, placed in a hollowed-out mikan (satsuma mandarin). The hollowed-out Mikan was set on a very hot stone, and the heat liberated a wonderful burnt citrus smell, probably due to volatile oils escaping. The citrus taste did not penetrate the soup, which had a creaminess reminiscent of Chinese shark-bone soups. Seared pieces of scallop and browned mochi within the soup. (4.5/5)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_unshiu

2015-01-30 19.07.32 2015-01-30 19.07.12 2015-01-30 19.08.15 2015-01-30 19.12.01 2015-01-30 19.08.34

Ankimo (monkfish liver) with negi scallions. What appeared to be bok choy (xiao bai cai), and a well-balanced soy sauce which I think had yuzu inside. There were jellied white bits of fat, that are of unknown-animal origin. The ankimo was a bit cloying as a paste around those jellied bits, and the well-balanced soy sauce (not too salty) cut the cloying feeling somewhat, though not completely. Perhaps it could have been drizzled onto the ankimo instead of remaining at the bottom (4.25/5)

2015-01-30 19.19.16 2015-01-30 19.19.48 2015-01-30 19.19.51 2015-01-30 19.19.58

Matsubagani dumpling – where we were invited to feast on the remarkable sweet natural taste of crab. (Sweetness is meant literally, not metaphorically). A twist in the dish – an ineffable smokiness – was it in the crab or dashi? (4.75/5)

2015-01-30 19.31.50 2015-01-30 19.32.17 2015-01-30 19.32.22

Meiji maguro (young tuna, by-catch), seared. Smoky, smooth, sourness in the maguro from a bit of vinegar. Delicious. Sweet wasabi. Iodine taste from seaweed (4.5/5)

2015-01-30 19.42.45 2015-01-30 19.42.53

Kobe beef, no salt. Barley boiled in syrup (a caramel taste), on top of a ball of daikon. An onion. We were asked to roll it up and eat it. This reminded me of an inverse, inside-out Peking duck roll. (1) The Kobe beef tasted like duck on the outside. (2) The barley boiled in syrup reminded me of Peking duck sauce. (3) The onion provides a touch of astringency. (4.5/5)

2015-01-30 19.51.27 2015-01-30 19.51.33 2015-01-30 19.51.36 2015-01-30 19.55.33

Sawara (Spanish mackerel) with very late-season gingko nuts and ebi-imo yam (so called because it is curved like a prawn, and has shrimp-like stripes). The sawara was tender inside. Visually arresting plate of a Japanese crane (4.5/5)

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/cool_japan/cooking/AJ201212180010

2015-01-30 20.02.43 2015-01-30 20.03.24 2015-01-30 20.03.29

Anago (whitespotted conger). Good broth. Green stems were from the kabu white turnip. (3.75/5)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitespotted_conger

http://japanese-kitchen.net/white-turnip-kabu/

2015-01-30 20.04.14 2015-01-30 20.04.18

静岡 磯自慢 純米吟醸 (Shizuoka Isojiman Junmai Ginjo). Dry. (3.5/5)

2015-01-30 20.15.59 2015-01-30 20.16.07 2015-01-30 20.16.32 2015-01-30 20.16.35 2015-01-30 20.16.37 2015-01-30 20.17.54

Kamu (Japanese duck) rice, soy sauce-style, with scallions. Scallions were sweet. Not bad, though the rice was a bit much in proportion to the duck (3.5/5). In terms of duck rice preparation, I thought the duck fried rice I had earlier that January at Asia Grand in Singapore (the by-product of Peking duck) was much better.

2015-01-30 20.36.44 2015-01-30 20.37.06 2015-01-30 20.37.09 2015-01-30 20.37.33 2015-01-30 20.39.16 2015-01-30 20.39.20 2015-01-30 20.37.20

Strawberry mousse, strawberries, wine jelly (3.75/5). A refreshing end to the meal, though probably mostly pre-prepared. Desserts at kaiseki restaurants may be either proportionate and elegant, or underwhelming, according to your taste. This one felt underwhelming.

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