Seisoka is a low-profile 2 star Kaiseki restaurant in Hiroo, Tokyo. It is now more famous because the chef of Matsukawa - the No.1 Japanese restaurant used to work there, thus it didn't surprised me that the philosophy of both restaurants are quite similar.
The restaurant is quite small, featured a 6-seat counter and three private rooms. I visited there for lunch on a weekday, two of us were the only guests at the counter, while all the private rooms were occupied. Reservation at Seisoka is even available less than a week in advance. Its low profile leads to a very quiet ambiance, accompany by its solid two-michelin standard dishes, it was an impressive experience overall.
Lunch menu starts from 6000, 12000 and up to 20000, which is the same as dinner menu. Seisoka also designed a low-sugar menu for ladies who is on diet. We picked the mid-range 12000 menu as a discovery. Several of my foodies friends highly recommended me this place but they know i don't like restaurants with chefs doing few cooking, they told me in advance that there would be no chef cooking at the counter. When i arrived, i found there were only one chef and one helper in the hot kitchen behind the curtain, and a server who handle the restaurant.
White miso soup is a sweet miso soup that always served during the month of Japanese new year (January). It is much creamier than the savory miso soup that normally served. A shrimp-shaped taro called 'ebi-imo' and glutinous rice cake is usually cooked together in the soup. Loved the simple sweet soup with smooth taro and chewy rice cake, a sweet and hearty beginning.
The soup looks very clean but perfectly absorbed the sweet and umami flavor of the crab. It reminds me of the perfect soup base of Matsukawa, which is still the best i have had by far. The bowl from Seisoka was a bit weaker compare to Matsukawa but still one of the best i have had.
The Ise-ebi was flavored with soy and egg yolk sauce which enhance the creaminess of the dish. The meat part was very juicy and delicious. Nothing special but since the high quality ingredients, the entire dish was great. Followed by a bite of steamed glutinous rice topped with salted Tai (snapper). The fish part was too salty for my liking.
Hassun includes several appetizers: vegetable tempura, grilled Saba, silver fish and some vinegared vegetables such as stuffed lotus with egg yolk, sweet potato with lemon and candies kumquant.
One of the classcial dish at Seisoka is the simmered turnip from Kyoto. Turnip was perfectly steamed and then simmered, its natural sweetness gives a lovely aftertaste. Underneath the turnip is grilled sesame tofu which had a grilled skin and a smooth, creamy center. I love sesame tofu but never had grilled one before, it was surprsingly good.
Rice dish was Sakura shrimp rice ball with scallions, the shrimps smell very good but the flavor was on the weak side. Since its small portion, i requested for the second one which served with much more shrimp, thus the flavor was slightly better. The pickles were not memeorable neither.
Dessert was rice cake made of millet and topped with red bean paste. The rice cake was pretty sticky, it taste much better than those i had at other kaiseki places. The red bean paste works very well on the rice cake. Lovely sweet ending.
Personally believe Seisoka is way too underrated. The dishes were certainly a solid two-star quality, and even better than a lot of famous Kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo. I liked the simple dishes with depth in tastes. Definitely will be back next time!
Visited: Jan.2016 (Lunch)
Hours:12:00～14:00;17:30～; Closed on Sundays and PH
Cost: Lunch 6000 or 12000 or 20000 / Dinner 20000 JPY++