KYOAJI (Shinbashi)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 09.2012 Japanese (Kappo, Kaiseki) 0 comments 0 trackback
Many people ask me which Japanese restaurant is the best in all of Tokyo. My reply has always been KYOAJI at Shinbashi, one of the two restaurants in Tokyo which rejected to be awarded three stars from Michelin. Kyoaji doesn't take reservation from 1st time customers. You need to be taken by a regular first and then they will accept reservations from you. This is the way it is with most top Japanese restaurants, which usually seat less than 20 people. And most of these restaurants don't want anything to do with Michelin since they have enough regular customers and want to keep their restaurant a special place for them to dine. I have heard stories of millionaires from around the world offering crazy money to eat here, but still got rejected.

京味 西健一郎
The meaning of Kyoaji is "Taste of Kyoto", where master chef/owner Kenichiro Nishi is from. His father was also considered the best chef in Kyoto when he was alive. But unlike traditional Kyoto Kaiseki food, chef Nishi's food is a bit more tasty, meaning its saltier. As i mentioned in other posts, Tokyo food in general is saltier than Kyoto/Kansai food.

京味 松茸&鱧
Kyoaji only has an one course menu and what's served depends on the season and what was available at the market that day. I've been to Kyoaji over a dozen times and my favorite time to dine there is in the fall, when they serve a full course of Matsutake mushroom and Hamo (Japanese conger). I think other customers would agree that its their favorite time to dine as well.

京味 焼き松茸
Dishes like YAKI MATSUTAKE (Broiled matsutake mushroom),

京味 湯引き鱧(梅肉、酢味噌、出汁醤油)
HAMO NO YUBIKI (Lightly boiled Japanese conger) which comes with vinegar miso & sour plum sauce,

京味 揚げ松茸
AGE MATSUTAKE (Deep fried matsutake mushroom),

京味 鱧そうめん
HAMO SOUMEN (Boiled minced Japanese conger made into cold noodles),

京味 鱧松茸鍋
HAMO MATSUTAKE NABE (Sliced Japanese conger & Matsutake mushroom in a hot pot with dashi broth),

京味 松茸ご飯
MATSUTAKE GOHAN (Matsutake mushroom rice),

京味 おつけもの
which comes with OTSUKEMONO (pickled vegetables),

京味 葛切り黒蜜
And finally the dessert, KUZUKIRI (Cold kuzu starch noodles with brown sugar syrup).

京味 鯛お造り
If you are not there during the fall, dishes like TAI NO OTSUKURI (Red snapper sashimi),

京味 茄子田楽の生雲丹のせ
NASU NO DENGAKU UNINOSE (Broiled eggplant with sweet miso paste and sea urchin), which is the best dengaku I ever had,

京味 いとこ煮:蛸、小豆、南瓜、小芋
ITOKONI (Boiled pumpkin, small Japanese taro potato, red bean, octopus in dashi broth),

京味 マナガツオ西京焼
MANAGATSUO NO SAIKYOYAKI (Grilled harvest fish marinated in Saikyo miso paste),

京味 子持ち鮎甘露煮
KOMOCHIAYU NO KANRONI (Sweetened boiled sweetfish with eggs),

京味 グジ揚げ出し
GUJI AGEDASHI (Deep fried sweet red snapper with dashi broth), which was chef Nishi's father's special,

京味 しゃけはらすご飯
and everyone's favorite SAKE HARASU GOHAN (Broiled salmon belly over rice).

I really didn't know if I should post info and photos about Kyoaji since you can't get a table without introduction from a regular, but I just had multiple requests to do so. I don't want to sound arrogant, but to dine and fully enjoy at a restaurant like Kyoaji, you really must have good knowledge of Kaiseki cuisine, at least had Kaiseki at other fine restaurants multiple times. I have many friends from abroad and also Japanese, who want to go to the BEST Japanese restaurants for any money, but most of them have no knowledge of real top Japanese cuisine or any fine cuisine. If you think sushi's like California Roll, sushi with some kind of sauce or salmon sushi is great and real Japanese food, restaurants like Kyoaji is definitely not for you. Or if you can't even tell the difference between a piece of broiled sea bass and red snapper, its also not a place for you to go as well. But if you aren't any of what I just mentioned, you will appreciate how special Kyoaji is compared to other Kaiseki restaurants.

kyoaji inside
I can't help you making a reservation, but try with your hotel concierge or one of your Japanese friends who enjoys fine dining. Also, Chef Nishi is one of the most friendliest people you will ever meet and he will make sure you are feeling perfectly comfortable while dining at Kyoaji. He is in his mid 70's and even though he is healthy now, you never know when he will close Kyoaji. It is not only a special restaurant in Japan, but also one of the top restaurants in the world.

京味 のれん

KYOAJI (in Japanese, 京味)
Address: 3-3-5 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都港区新橋3-3-5)
Nearest train station: JR or Tokyo Metro Shinbashi (10 min walk)
Tel: 03-3591-3344
Reservations: Yes (must be reffered by another regular customer)
Website: None
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-10pm Lunch on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday only
Closed: Sunday & Holiday

Prices: Course only and prices depend on the season.
It will be somewhere between 37,000-45,000 yen without drinks.

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