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.

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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.

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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. DSC08100

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.

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Homemade Plum Wine 自家製梅酒
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Sea Urchin and Ise Prawn’s Jelly | ウニと伊勢海老ジュレがけ (JPY 1600)

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.

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Kinmedai Sashimi | 金目鯛の刺身 (JPY 1200)

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.

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Salt-grilled Pregnant Ayu | 子持稚鮎の塩焼き (JPY 600)

Commonly seen at Kaiseki restaurants, the grilled ayu was pretty well-done, too. Inside the crispy skin was chuck full of fish roes.

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Grilled Sanma rolled with Maitake Mushroom | 秋刀魚の舞茸卷き燒き (JPY 1000/2pcs)

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.

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Roasted Duck with Gigs and Sesame Sauce | 鴨とイチジクのだまたれ (JPY 1000)

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.

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Soba with Dried Mullet Roe | からすみそば (JPY 1600)

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).

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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.

 

2 comments Add yours
    1. Hi Chris, it would be difficult for a non-Japanese speaker to eat there. I cannot speak Japanese neither but I can recognize some Chinese characters so it is easier. Or you can show them the pictures of the dishes!

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