Surely it exists, but quite rare.
So when my Fiance's family told me they wanted to eat Kaiseki
(multi-course Japanese meal), I looked into the following criteria for the ideal restaurant:
1. It has to be good but didn't cost an arm and a leg.
2. Family run for a more authentic feel.
3. English menus.
4. Easy to get to.
The best thing about eating a meal like this is that you don't even have to pick from the menu,
just how much you want to spend (their introductory Kaiseki starts at 6,000 Yen).
I'm pretty sure I ate ovaries of several types, fish I've never heard of before,
and something called White Jew's ears (fungus; pictured above).
Sounds strange but it was delicious!
We visited for dinner on my birthday and was seated on the counter on the far left--
prime seats right in front of the Chef. (I had a reservation made about 3 months out).
This affords you the perfect view to see him prepare
and plate everyone's dishes.
Counter seating also makes it easier to interact
with his lovely wife and young wait staff
(of over 5+ people; the
restaurant itself seats about 27).
Although Chef Yamamura is very quiet and
the Michelin sign is no where to be seen inside the restaurant,
his food shines loudly on its own.
The whole experience is like enjoying a symphony of texture and flavors that blend harmoniously.
The appetizer course was accompanied by a Persimmon Sake then followed by the Abalone Soup (first photograph at the top).
(for the Seasonal Kaiseki ~ 15,500 Y per person)
The Sashimi "bowl" is made from compacted shaved ice.
The lobster heads are grilled for you after the Sashimi course.
(for the 10,500 Y Kaiseki Set per person)
The squid sashimi was exceptionally soft.
A blend of small dishes from mountain & sea.
I understand now why they have 3 Michelin stars
(for the last 6 consecutive years since 2011).
Splendid food, with lots of attention to details down to plating,
and every last bit of dinner and glassware.
Service was really exceptional.
Mrs. Yamamura would personally attend to every guest along with their staff.
Even though we were dressed in our sightseeing outfits,
they were very welcoming and attentive.
Quite a departure from other high-end or Michelin starred restaurants
with strict dress codes or haughty atmosphere.
Grilled Fish Course
If you look closely, the sauce is shaped like a Pumpkin or Persimmon-- or something to that effect.
Steam Bowl Course
(We got to pick from 1 of the 4 types available).
All rice set came with soup and a small side of cabbage & seaweed in soy sauce (Tsukudani).
The option missing from here is Rice wrapped in Tofu Skin (Yuba) with Starchy sauce.
The grapes inside the dessert were huge!
Seasonal Kaiseki Menu (Fall) + Drink Menu
One of three ways:
1. Call them yourself.
3. Call Gurnavi (Free Reservation Support in English).
(3 Seasonal Kaiseki, and 2 Kaiseki of the tier 2 below it).
~15,500 Yen per person VS. 10,500 Yen per person
The differences in the two meal plans though didn’t look too big except for
the addition of the whole lobster and a few other seasonal ingredients.
While the Seasonal Kaiseki itself is already a great deal for the amazing food and experience,
I thought the 10,500 Y plan included a lot of the similar things and offers incredible value.
All of the dishes were wonderful.
As the menu is planned by the chef, it will be different every season
(and varies based on what's available).
I would love to go back during Matsutake season (which ends in October) for a re-visit.
Mondays + Last Sunday of the month
Whimsical and elaborate tableware.