Of course, we couldn’t leave Tokyo without trying a few sushi places. And at the top of our list was “Ise Sueyoshi” — 4-2-15 Nishiazabu, Minato — a small “kaiseki” restaurant with only 5 seats at the counter (and just a few tables) on the 3rd floor of a nondescript commercial building.
“Kaiseki” is a traditional multi-course meal, often compared to French haute cuisine, since both involve meticulous preparation and a “theatric” presentation of food — at relatively hefty prices, of course.
For 16,000 yen, or about $150 per person, you can expect a “seasonal” appetizer, side dish, sashimi, soup, grilled dish, “refresh” dish, rice, dessert; all prepared by Chef Yuuki Tanaka — described by some as a “culinary prodigy.”
The moment you enter the tight space, Chef Tanaka welcomes his guests with a wide grin and open arms. (His English is quite good, so expect him to converse and explain each item presented over the course of the two-hour experience.)
After a cup of warm sake, we were presented with a “Saki-zuke” or “amuse-bouche” made up of sesame tofu, puréed soup of corn, sea grapes and salmon roe.
If you’re into maize, you’ll love this rich (but not heavy) soup which is typically made with corn, onion, milk or cream. The tofu afforded the soup some additional body, while the roe and sea grapes added a delicate crunch and a subdued saltiness to the mix.
Because we found it extremely creative, and quite delicious, we rated it an “A.”
[And while the sake pairing was additional 3564 yen ($33 approx), it was well worth the up-charge.]
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