All tagged quality ingredients
The simplicity and minimalism of Japanese cuisine never cease to amaze me. Particularly with traditional kaiseki, sauces and spices practically don't exist. Instead of flavoring the ingredients in a dish with external condiments, ingredients are chosen for their own intrinsic flavors.
This ingredient-focused approach took a bit of getting used to; in fact the first time I tried kaiseki, I didn't like it. I thought the flavors were dull, repetitive, and boring. But the more I ate it and the longer I spent in Japan, the more I began to appreciate it. My barometer of flavor reset. Instead of loud spicy Thai cuisine full of spices and herbs, or very sweet and sticky Shanghainese cusine, Kaiseki lies flat in the middle: nothing too sweet, salty, or sour. It is a cuisine of modesty and humility where the natural flavors of the ingredients are put on a pedestal to shine.
Chef Yamamoto Seiji (山本征治) opened RyuGin in December 2003 at the young age of thirty three. Before that he had worked under Koyama Hirohisa (小山裕久) at Aoyagi (青柳) for ten years, channeling his talent for cooking the highest quality ingredients flawlessly. In theory, the highest quality ingredients combined with impeccable cooking should guarantee an unforgettable meal. At least that's what I thought.
The restaurant is located on a small side street in Roppongi. The area used to be a bit seedy but after the construction of Roppongi Hills (六本木ヒルズ) completed in 2003, the neighborhood perked up. Now it is known for its sophisticated nightlife including a handful burgeoning restaurants eager to collect their stars. Yet despite being in such a lively neighborhood, RyuGin remains humble and quiet having just under twenty seats.
The service at RyuGin, like the service at nearly every other fine dining establishment in the city, was flawless and graceful. The staff spoke with tremendous knowledge about the menu yet remained impressively humble. The stage was set for a fantastic meal. Everything was ready, that is, except the food.