Kagurazaka Ishikawa 神楽坂 石かわ (2015.11)
A revisit to one of my favorite Kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo, 3* Ishikawa in Kagurazaka. Every time i get out of Kagurazaka train station, i feel very excited, especially when i see this entrance. Every time i step into the restaurant, see the familar faces with smiles, it gives me a feeling of home. To me, eating at Ishikawa is not only about the food, i really really loved the warm ambiance, the friendly people, and the impressive experiences every time, although this is only my third visit.
Winter is the best season to eat Monkfish liver, loved the smooth and delicious treasure from the ocean. Highlight was the Kimizu sauce which was creamy but light. Ishikawa's sauces and jelly are my all-time favorite, also a secret to bring up all his dishes.
I was a bit disappointing when i saw the same dish as what i had at Ishikawa in Octomber, but also feel lucky because it was really good. It's very hard to control the oil tempurature and the length of cooking to make sure the bomboo shoots are fully-cooked, and at the time, the fish was still tender at its best. Ishikawa-san did it.
Chef-owner Ishikawa-san was slicing his favorite & the classcial dish Tai fish sashimi, so cute that he randomly put some sliced into his own mouth.
This is probably my favorite Tai sashimi over the world. Chef Ishikawa-san wrapped dried Kombu (seaweed) over the fish before it was served, to give it more umami flavors. The flesh has a very clean flavor but very delicious at the time, chewy and enjoyable.
Uni (sea urchin) was from Hokkaido, incredibly creamy and sweet.
Awabi(abalone) was also from Hokkaido, Ishikawa-san told me it was a kind of small abalone but has strong flavors. It was perfectly steamed, very aromatic and tender, its deep flavor was wonderfully balanced with the abalone soup's jelly. The umami aftertaste was unforgettable.
Ishikawa's grilled dish is also one of my favorite in town, not luxouriously platted but very simple and real taste. Anago has a lovely char-grilled skin, fragrance and delicious. I told Ishikawa-san the anago was so good, and he said Ebi Imo was also delicious. Indeed, the smooth taro was coated with a layer of umami podwered premium prawn, fabulous.
I didn't know that Ishikawa offers a winter-special crab menu until i arrived at the restaurant, and the crab menu is reservation-only. So jealous that the couple sit next to me was having the crab set. Luckily there was one crab dish in my menu and i enjoyed it pretty much, the crab was juicy and sweet, turnip on the bottom was incredibly smooth and sweet.
At Ishikawa, the last dish before rice dish is always a small hot pot. Last season i had a dreamy pot of duck which was out of the world - incredibly succulent meat and full of collagen. Thus time i had Sawara fish, good but i was still thinking of the duck one.
Rice congee with tea and Tai fish is a classcial dish at Ishikawa, also the most famous rice dish here. I was lucky to have it twice because the new rice (plain rice) is only served in Autumn and Winter. Chef Ishikawa san still remembers that i loved crispy rice, i really loved the chewy and sweet pearls topped with the best minced Tai, it makes a simple rice full of oceanic flavors.
Second bowl? Yes please.
Ishikawa-san is also very good at dessert, his rum jelly is my favorite, and this time, i had the Gingo nuts mousse with black bean soup. The mousse was very airy and smooth, soup was creamy and very 'sesamy'. Wonderfull ending.
This was my last visit to Ishikawa in 2015, a bit sad to say goodbye to the 'family'. Cannot wait to be there again in the coming new year.