Originally Posted by impolyt_one
I'd be interested if you feel like writing up some reviews of the places you went to on this trip. I haven't been eating as much Japanese food lately as I probably should.
Seizan (Haruyama)—Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Seizan is a kappo restaurant that opened last summer, manned by Haruhiko Yamamoto, in his early thirties, with seemingly 10+ years working at places in the country with which I’m not familiar. Apparently the same Kanji can be Seizan or Haruyama, so I guess that’s how it got the name. It’s a pretty streamlined setup—8 or so counter seats, a private room, and a few tables off to the side, and just Yamamoto and three assistants in the kitchen, and also doubling as servers, busboys and dishwashers. There’s absolutely no English spoken, but not in a standoffish way, and I was able to get by with knowledge of Japanese pleasantries and some food terms, which I think helped a lot not only to figure out what the hell it was that we were eating, but also built some rapport with the cooks. In fact, I will give some credit to SF here—they were struggling to describe a cylindrical, rhubarb-like vegetable, and
They have three dinner options at 7,000/10,000/15,000 JPY, and I think 4,000 and 6,000 JPY options at lunch, though I’m not sure what those contain. We went with the 15,000 JPY menu, which I’ve reproduced below to the best of my ability.
Ebi with grated mountain yam, dashi jelly, spring herbs
Tai Soup with Tai Collar and Bamboo Shoot
Sashimi (Tai, Ika, Ankimo, Salmon)
Abalone with herbs, sizzling rice
Broiled Anago with young leeks, fiddleheads, some other spring greens
Grilled Wagyu with leeks and wasabi
Grated potato with fish roe
Simmered Shirako, lotus root croquette, lima beans, fuki
Rice with Uni and Bamboo shoots
Strawberries with Mascarpone
Fancy Orange Juice
I will save the evaluation using the six criteria of gastroville for another time, but I’ll highlight a few of the best dishes.
This was highly theatrical and delicious. First they bring out what I can best describe as a glowing hot ceramic pipe with small depression (maybe five ounces) in it. They follow with a small dish of mountain herbs, a few pieces of abalone, and its liver. They then have you pour the lot into the dish and stir for a while. After about a minute, you take out the abalone meat, and mix in a sizzling rice cake to absorb the sauce. As you eat the meat it the rice develops a bit of “soccorat” so it’s a nice change up from the abalone’s texture.
It doesn’t get much simpler, but this was great quality, buttery meat done on their grill, which is theatrically set up behind a window directly as you walk in the door. I liked the way the meat was cooked, which to my understanding, was done technically perfectly by Japanese standards—an even gradient of doneness around the cubes.
This was great mainly because the quality of fruit was so good (actually even the fruit we had at the hotels was pretty good), but here moreso. This was nice and light at the end of a pretty large meal—all of the cooking was at a high level, but I would imagine as time go on they will improve things like the pacing and flow of portion sizes (I suppose I could have just taken home more rice however).
The glass of very sweet, low acidity orange juice was a nice touch at the end, and an idea that I will probably steal.
Found this picture of the abalone rice, pre mixing.Edited by ehkay - 3/23/12 at 4:13am