RyuGin – Tokyo (***)

Food: modern kaiseki
Address: 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone Number: +81 (0)3 -3423-8006
Website: www.nihonryori-ryugin.com
Guide Michelin: 3 stars
What I paid: ¥38060 (about 270 € per person for the tasting menu with tea-pairing and one glass of red wine)
Visited: March 15, 2014

RyuGin means the “singing dragon” and reflects Chef Seiji Yamamto’s interest in dragons and this theme is also picked up in the interior of the restaurant and in its dinnerware (while Nihonryori, that also is part of the restaurant’s name but often omitted, means “Japanese cuisine”).

Head Chef Seiji Yamamto’s kaiseki cuisine is more creative in comparison to most other restaurants serving kaiseki and the theme of the restaurant is in regards to themselves “TO PURSUE POSSIBILITY OF THE JAPANESE CUISINE”.

The restaurant is located in the Roppongi district and reservations for “overseas guests” has to be made by the hotel (concierge) you stay at in Tokyo. Also, as seems to be a common practice by many Tokyo restaurants, the reservations for the next month starts on the 1st of the actual month (e.g. reservations for July starts at 1st of June) and cannot be made more than two months in advance.

The restaurant has a relatively good selections of wines, preferable from France. RyuGin do also have a special tea-pairing for their menu which we opted for and that is something I really can recommend. Even though I in 99 out of 100 opt for wine in a “fine dining” restaurant I really appreciated the tea served and did not actually miss the wine that much (for the Wagyu beef dish we ordered one glass of red together with the tea to do a comparison).

We were seated in room with “normal western” chairs and tables and I also felt that RyuGin was the restaurant I associated mostly with a European 3-star restaurant of all restaurants we visited in Japan (i.e. in regards to how we were seated and in the service and general feeling; not on the topic of the food itself).

You can order either a set menu (“tasting menu”) or a la carte. We chose to go with the set menu “Plating the Prodigality of Japanese Nature…” and this is what we had:

~ Beginning with a variety of Sensations… ~
Seasonality, Aroma, Temperature, Texture and Assemblage:

Warm appetizer

Assorted vegetables with pine nut dressing (warm)

Cold appetizer

Grilled fish milt and steamed Abalone (hot and cold)

Sparkling tea for the appetizers

Sparkling tea for the appetizers

~ Philosophy on the Ichiban Dashi ~
Taste of the Wind that Captures a Moment:

"Owan" Clear Soup

Kuruma prawn dumpling

~ A Message from the Coast of Japan ~
Richness of the Sea, Tidal Current:

Ocean's Delicacy Sashimi

Ocean’s Delicacy array of 7 plates

Those seven samples (e.g. Blow Fish, Monkfish liver, Tuna…) from the sea was one of the highlights this dinner.

Tea for the sashimi

Tea for the sashimi

~ Binchotan ~
A Powerful Scent of Charcoal grill…

Charbroiled Fish

Charbroiled Kinki Fish. Avocado with marinated vegetables and grated Daikon

A side dish of pickled Granny Smith apples (not shown on picture) was served together with the charbroiled fish that was really delicious.

~ A Sealed Dedication under the Lid… ~
Exquisiteness, Sincerity of Japan:

Simmered Preparation

Simmered Preparation with Spring Vegetables

Tea for the soap

Tea for the soup

~ Diverse History of Wagyu ~
Grass fed free range Akage Beef from Aso:

Meat Dish

Akage Beef Filet charcoal Sukiyaki style with a crispy poached egg

As mentioned above, this was the only dish were we had a glass of red wine (but also tea…).

~ The land of Rice-plants ~
Pleasure of eating off the same trencher, Niigata rice:

Today's Rice Dish

Memory of Chef Yamamoto’s childhood with chicken rice, pickles and red miso soup

~ Lusciousness ~
Coolness, Warmth, Playful Spirits, Nostalgia and Temptation:

One piece of Strawberry...

One piece of Strawberry…

The dessert showed that Yamamoto is well acquainted with modern techniques were among other things Liquid Nitrogen was used to achieve the desired texture for the strawberry shown above. The video below shows how I think this “strawberry” was done:

Cold meets warm...

Hot meets cold…

Together with the cold “strawberry” from above a warm strawberry jam was added and the combination of cold and warm strawberries was really good (and not just a showcase of modern techniques).

Hot Sake and Cold Sake Sweet Flavors

Hot Sake and Cold Sake Sweet Flavors

Matcha Tea:

Matcha tea

Matcha tea

The dinner was finished with a cup of Matcha Tea.

In summary: This was my second kaiseki dinner and also the third and last 3-star restaurant in Tokyo before heading back to Europe. Of all meals I had in Japan, this was my very best one, and I can honestly say that I fully appreciated all dishes served, which is not that common (unfortunately…). RyuGin is a genuine 3-star restaurant that I personally rank very high. Also, the tea-paring we had to the set menu was something new for me that I appreciated more than I initially expected. Highly recommended!

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2 Responses to RyuGin – Tokyo (***)

  1. Pingback: Hoze – Scandinavian sushi | blog4foodies

  2. Pingback: My Top 10 Dinners 2014 | blog4foodies

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