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Kagurazaka Ishikawa | Tokyo | Dec ’14 | “mixing”

1 Jan
  • Rating: 16/20
  • Address: Japan, 〒162-0825 東京都新宿区 神楽坂5−37 高村ビル1F
  • Phone: +81 3-5225-0173
  • Price per pax (including two rounds of sake split among 5): 23,000 Yen ($193 at 100 Yen = 0.83 USD)
  • Value: 2.5/5
  • Dining Time: 150 minutes
  • Chef: Hideki Ishikawa
  • Michelin stars: 3

2014-12-16 00.21.07

Our December meal at Ishikawa seemed to be based on the idea of a “delicious mix”. We mixed our appetizers, our 2 sashimi courses, and our rice course. The taste results were very good, but clearly less “pre-meditated” than other high-end restaurants.

Truth be told, I personally felt it was an underwhelming meal. But many Japanese food connoisseurs, such as Robbie Swinnerton and Melinda Joe and Mesubim, seem to like it, so I would like to form a second opinion.

Hospitality, as is the case in Japan, was exceptional. Chef Ishikawa is an easy-going personality, and it was touching (and appreciated) that the kitchen crew sent us off in our taxis.


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  • Appetizer: Blanched Blowfish Tossed with Japanese Herbs and Grated White Radish Sauce
    • Fugu with ponzu. Good (4/5)

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  • Deep-fried: “Kakiage’ Wagu Tongue, Lotus Root and Mitsuba Greens Topped with Turnip
    • Wagyu Tongue was a bit tough and overcooked, and the thick sauce was just for texture, with little taste. A bit puzzling to me. It was impressive that the batter maintained its crunch for quite a while after being immersed in sauce (3.5/5)

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  • Soup: White Miso Soup with Blowfish Milt; Thinly Sliced Whale Skin
    • Fugu Milt – great, an unending creamy texture that is nothing but cream. Milt provided the luxurious feeling. (Zatokujira AKA Humpback) whale skin was added for flavor, but I could have done without it (4.25/5)

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  • Sashimi: Sea Bream Garnished with Fresh Seaweed and Japanese Herbs
    • Genkai nada (Genkai sea, on the Northern coast of Fukuoka in Kyushu) Tai (sea bream), in a tough roiling sea “makes the tai more chewy”
    • served with shizuoka wasabi, a naturally sweet and hot wasabi.
    • The tai was chewy as intended. It was pleasant to eat with seaweed, but the structure of the dish puzzled me. Was the point to emphasise a single point of produce? (chewiness of rose-colored sea bream?) (3.25/5)

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  • Sashimi: Seared Ise Lobster with Vinegared Soy Sauce
    • Seared lobster. The barest kiss of smoke. Served with its moorish lobster guts, flavored with vinegared soy sauce. Very good (4.5/5)
    • Served in a lacquered gourd. Surprisingly light. Elegant

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  • Charcoal-grilled: Horsehead Snapper Flavored with Salted Bonito Innards Sauce; Gluten Bread with Walnut
    • Amadai (tilefish AKA horsehead snapper) was served this time without its scale. The skin was slathered with shuto, salted bonito innards (fermented for more than 6 months!). Banana walnut bread. The sake brought out a wonderful nutty flavor. (4/5)
    • Fresh and firm, salty outside.

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  • Delicacy: Fresh Water Eel, Gingko Nuts and Mashed Taro
    • Usually eel is boiled before it is grilled. Ishikawa directly grilled the eel to get a very fluffy texture, and had a very good taste of charcoal (4.5/5)

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  • Hot Pot: Snow Crab, Tofu and Seasonal Vegetables
    • Tofu, perhaps the softest it could get while still able to be grasped by chopsticks – from a Kagurazaka tofu shop called katsuno-shop.
    • Crab, no sugar was mixed with its innards

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  • Steamed Rice: Freshly Harvested Rice Served with Sea Bream Paste and Pickled Vegetables
    • Koshihikari rice, Niigata, sweet and nutty – harvested in October
    • The sea bream paste tasted like canned tuna, to be very honest.
    • Pouring the broth after we were half done with the rice transformed it into a savory soup. Wasabi almost entirely faded to a ghostly spiciness in the broth (4/5)

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  • Dessert: Sweet Red Beans, Yuzu Citrus Agar and Cream Cheese with Toasted Wafer
    • A most toasty wafer. I liked the red beans (4/5)

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Namazake Honmaru sake served: 4.25/5. Fruity