I admit that since the very first moment I decided to go to Tokyo this summer I was particularly attracted by the chance to visit Narisawa. I don’t know why, probably because of his fame abroad (2 Michelin Stars, ranked N.8 at the special 2015 The World’s 50 Best Restaurant list), at the end of the day everything seemed to justify a “must go” place if you visit Tokyo, especially if you are food passionate. Therefore I did it, I succeded to make a reservation and I had a dinner on last August 6th. The expectations were quite high.
The idea of cuisine of Chef Narisawa is not that different from the philosophy of another emerging japanese chef, Takazawa : combining western and japanese techniques and ingredients in a continuos search for the perfect mixture. The problem in my humble opinion is that Takazawa wins Narisawa 3-0 (without having a single Michelin Star…yet). Just to clarify: excellent technique, amazing creations, impeccable level of service with well prepared waiters from France and UK…really nothing to say, without any doubt an extraordinary restaurant, but I had constantly the feeling that too many courses slipped away without leaving any memorable spike. Yes, impressive dishes at my sight , but the taste?
We tried (you cannot choose) the tasting menu of the season: Summer Collection 2015 that is described as “Innovative Satoyama cuisine, Beneficial and Sustainable“:
- “Bread of the Forest 2010” Kinome and Japanese Citrus : they actually bring at your table the mixture, still raw , is placed in a container heated to 300 degrees, and the cooking is done at the table. Once cooked it is presented with some butter covered with crushed olives and spinach
- Essence of the Forest and Satoyama Scenery: amazing to watch…
- Horse Mackerel, Yamaguchi with Yuba form Kyoto: interesting. Yuba is one of the foods made from soybeans. As soy milk boils, a film forms on the surface. The film is yuba.
- Soft Shelled Turtle, Saga: intriguing and good…but poor turtles…
- Sea Snake Soup, Okinawa: …a soup…very delicate, but still a soup…maybe the snake effect overcomes the essence of the course
- Botan Shrimp, Hokkaido; Sea Urchin, Iwate; Water Shield, Akita: interesting creation, very japanese taste, a bit too much delicate though for my taste
- Clam, Mie
- Japanese Spiny Lobster, Shizuoka
- Kamo Nasu, Eggplant, Kyoto “Gion Festival”: in my opinion the most beautiful dish of the dinner, nice to see and really good
- Milk Baby Pork, Chiba
- Conger Pike, Aichi
- Kobe Beef, Hyoto “Sumi 2009”, very good, not very innovative idea
- Mango and Pineapple, Okinawa
In conclusion, do I regret to have dined here? Of course not! It was a great dinner. I only say that compared to other multiple starred chefs, Narisawa stays a little bit behind in my very personal ranking, but, you know, the ancient Latin used to say: “de gustibus”!