I’ve decided kaiseki is my favorite meal - if I could have one last meal, from whatever genre, I think it would be kaiseki. I haven’t been to the likes of Matsukawa, Kyoaji, Mizai, Ogata, or whatever the new hotness is in Tokyo/Kyoto these days. So I can’t tell you that Kimoto is the best kaiseki in Japan. What I can say is that this is the best kaiseki meal I’ve eaten, which puts it in the running for the best meal I’ve ever had.
When we signed up, we were told it was matsutake season, but when we went, we were served crab instead, which was absolutely fine by me! Having just moved from Kobe to Tokyo, Kimoto-san has quite a bit of competition now, but I feel he is up to the task. As I understand it, he was the junior apprentice of Matsukawa. Just about every single dish was transcendental.
I’m probably butchering the names, but the drinks that were recommended as pairings for the meal:
Tsuru Kame (junmai daiginjo)
Yusura (junmai daiginjo)
Chateau D’yquem (didn’t catch the year) with dessert
The entrance - pretty non descript
Taizagani on display
Taiza gani with miniature potatoes and rice
Karasumi tempura with gingko, so amazingly decadent, yet tasted so homey and comforting
Soup with taizagani and kikuragi (wood ear)
Fugu with shirako - the thinly sliced shirako was the best preparation of shirako I’ve ever had
Sashimi - shiro amadai (horsehead snapper) grilled; so rich and tasted as rich as beef
Grilled ise lobster with some sort of jelly
Meanwhile, something is grilling in them there coals…
Stewed taizagani with brains
Some broth added - this might have been better than the stew above
Grilled suppon with lotus root (what we saw grilling earlier)- this blew away the version we had at Ifuki, which was no slouch
Something else grilling - if it was half as good as the previous grilled dish, we were in for a treat!
“Kabu ra” turnip in broth, no more, no less
Rice, grilled wagyu from Tokushima (along with Dons de la Nature, the best wagyu I’ve ever had) with whole peppers, oshinko; P.S. we received three pieces of wagyu, but I chowed a piece before taking a picture
Suppon porridge with green onions (the version at Ifuki was slightly better)
Sweet cream dessert with almonds (and the glass of D’yquem for good measure)
Roasted chestnut - this is like the best version of a home made cookie you could ever imagine
Japanese hard candy
Matcha to finish the meal
As I said before, this was probably the best meal I’ve ever had. At the end, I was jealous of a couple other groups at our counter who were booking their next meal with Kimoto-san. That meal stayed in my memory for a while.