Tokyo | Ginza Shimada 銀座しまだ
Standing bars are nothing new in Japan, most people associate it with cheap, slurp-and-run ramen counters at railway stations, while the more refined version at Shimada — considered even by the Michelin group — has inspired a trend of high-end standing bars offering kaiseki dishes.
Visited: Oct.09.2015 (Dinner)
Address 1F, 8-2-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Kousaka Building 中央区銀座8-2-8高坂ビル1F
Hours:17:00 - 23:00, closed on Sundays and P.H.
Located few-minute walking distance from JR Shimbashi station, Ginza Shimada is a cozy Izakaya that can only fits 10 people standing at the counter and a table for four pax. Due to the no-reservation policy, i strongly recommend you to get there early before the white-collar crowd off work.
The head chef was trained at few five-star hotels and three-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurants, which is not hard to tell as he is really polite, friendly and always wear a simile on his face. Although the food here is very authentic, each dish is available from 500yen - surprisingly affordable for the quality and the location. The menu is hand-written by the chef which changes daily.
The first appetizer looks incredible. The prawn jelly was very unami and refreshing, the orange-golde sea urchin was firm buttery texture, the Tobiko (flying fish) roe added more textures to the dish.Such a taste of Harmony.
I didn't order the kinmedai sashimi at first, as most of the white-fish sashimi i recently had was not really impressive (it is not 100% white tho). The guests next to me strongly recommended it to me, and it do looks pretty good. To be honest, i never imagine the sashimi quality at such a cozy izakaya could be so good. Maybe i'm a bit biased but it is a truth that higher-end restaurants have better sources. The flesh was melt-in-mouth tender, with moderate oil contents and a clean but umami flavor.
Commonly seen at Kaiseki restaurants, the grilled ayu was pretty well-done, too. Inside the crispy skin was chuck full of fish roes.
I personally loved the second grilled dish a lot more. The freshly-grilled smell makes my mouth watering. The fish was very delcious and full of ocean flavors, the mushroom inside was quite crunchy and juicy.
The roated duck with a slight burnt outer-layer was too impressive, the meat was very succulent and flavorful. Never thought of the combination of sesame sauce with duck but it did work. The fresh Japanese figs was very sweet and juicy, balanced very well with the duck.
I missed this soba (buckwheat noodle) dish a lot after i firstly had it at 2* Ginza Okamoto last Decemeber. The soba was in-house-made, very chewy and tastes so good with the umami Karasumi (dried mullet roe). I think i can finish 5 plates of this (haha).
It was my first time eating at a standing bar, some people may think it is too tired to stand there and eat, but the interactive and relax ambiance accomanied by delcious food make you forget about anything else.