Tokyo | 幸村 Yukimura
Yukimura, one of the six 3-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant featured by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015, is one of the best kaiseki places in Tokyo. The head chef Yukimura have worked for 25 years in Kyoto before he opened this restaurant, here, he blends traditional Kyoto-style kaiseki with contemporart twist to create the best flavors. Last December i visited his student, Okamoto-san's restaurant 2* Ginza Okamoto, it was one of the best kaiseki meal ever, so i expected a lot. The restaurant is located in a small building in Azabu-Juban on the main street, while there’s no signboard outside the shop. We followed Googlemap but still cannot find where is it although we were right at the building, until we find the business card of Yukimura. Yes, only a normal-sized business card.
Visited: Nov.5.2015 (Dinner)
Address: 3F YUKENAZABU, 1 Chome−5−5, Azabujuban, Minato, Tokyo 東京都港区麻布十番1-5-5 高柳ビル ３Ｆ
Yukumura is a quite small restaurant that can fits 15 diners everyday, 9 at the counter and a table for 4-6 people. We were a large group of 6 people so we were seated at the table, which was quite sad because i always enjoy watching the chef working in front of me.
We arrived right at 5:30pm and there was no other guests until 6pm. Chef Yukimura carefully prepared the ingredients will be used later in our meal. Six of us were starring at him working and he told us to wait for several more minutes for the first dish. We saw him took out the grilled eggplant from the foil which was just removed from the grill.
The duck was medium-grilled, the slightly burnt skin was full of fragrant, while all of us found it was a bit tough in texture. While the eggplant was smooth and delicious. The best part of this dish was the wasabi miso sauce - very flavorful and matches well with the high flavors of duck breast.
Followed by the famous cold soba with dried mullet roe. The first time i had this dish was at Ginza Okamoto and it impressed me a lot. Last month i tried it at a more affordable Izakaya - Ginza Shimada, which was too satisfying. Here, the soba was well-done but the Karasumi was too fishy for our liking, and one of my partners even cannot finish this two-bite dish. The rest of us finished the dish for a table manner.
Next we were served a lovely spread of 5 small appetizers. Boiled black Edamame, prawn tempura, Sanma (saury) with assorted vegetable chips and Hokkaido cheese, pan-fried peppers, yam with Hokkaido ikura. The tempura was pretty well-done, bouncy prawns pairs very well with the smooth baby potatoes. The cheese was very interesting, mildly flavors and a biscuit-texture.
Besides Karasumi soba, Saba sushi is another famous one at Yukimura. Okamoto-san also serves this and it was amazing, same at Yukimura, this is probably my favorite dish of the night. Saba itself has a deep flavor and the kelp wrapping matches very well.
Not my first trutle dish recently but first time having it stuffed inside the deep-fried tofu. The turtle itself was very declicious but the collagen content still coudn't beated the one i had in 3* Ishikawa last month. I can understand that the chef used scallions and ginger soup to balance the fishy smell of the turtle, but we all found it was too strong, maybe over?
This reminds me of the grill Hamo with Matsutake sushi at 2* Hatsune Zushi, but this one was much much larger in size. As you can see from the previous picture that chef Yukimura was cutting the roll, one roll can serve two people, can you get how large is it? Well, it was definitely delicious, the hamo was moist and Matsutake brings more aroma to the dish. But when the portion is not that 'fine' any more, i don't think it was that enjoyable.
The sea urchin was lightly steamed, part of it was cooked while mostly raw. The creamy and sweet uni matches very well with the refreshing jelly, and flying fish roe added a crunchy texture to the dish. Lovely.
Ayu, or sweet fish in English, was quite large in size and chock full of fish roes in the belly. The sansho-vinegar sauce has a balance sour and sweet flavor, while it was a bit too salty and covers the original flavor of the fish. Side with some grilled Yuba (tofu skin), as the yuba itself has no savory flavor, it works well with the sauce.
The Matsutake was very aromatic and well-cooked, we requested for more rice crust after the first bowl were filled, and each of us had two bowls of rice. The rice was served with light pickles and red miso soup.
One of the most impressive ice-cream ever. The figs were 100% mature and full of fresh juices, the homemade caramel ice cream was really caramelized, and you can even see the burnt part in it. It has a moderate bitter flavor and balanced very well with the figs. The dessert comes with Kinpyo candy to balance the bitterness.
In short, the dishes we had during our visit were not as good as we expected, and definitely not a Michelin-star standard in my opinion. Even some 2* restaurants such as Yukimura-san's student's Okamato serves better food, as well as Goryukubo (豪龍久保). The service was neither that pleasant, and chef Yukimura didn't even farewell us when we left. The dinner cost us 33k per person include drinks and we don't think it was that worth-of-value. Maybe it would be better if we sit at the counter.