Friday, March 14, 2008

Eating in Tokyo: Shokkan

A rainy evening in Tokyo (I do realize that I was in Paris yesterday and in Oregon three days ago—it’s a long story). Seeing all the neon through the rain at night makes it feel especially Blade Runner-esque. At the little wine store in the Tokyo Station next to my hotel you can buy Cristal Rosé for ¥63,000, as well as a host of other elite wines. In case, you know, I get a late-night urge.

We had an absolutely splendid dinner at a small, modern kaiseki restaurant called Shokkan, in Shibuya. This is Kouei Furukawa, who possesses crazy mad knife skills. He treated us to nine subtle, thoughtfully inspired courses, each more beautiful and delicious than the next. It’s an open kitchen with 30 seats all around, like L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, so one has the pleasure of watching them work.

I loved this delicate soup of wakame seaweed and the lightest, wispiest balls of mochi, like what polenta could only dream of becoming. Owner Ken Sato keeps a terrific wine list as well, including Egly-Ouriet, Bollinger and Dom Pérignon among his champagnes. We drank saké, of course: a rich, almost caramelly Sawaya Matsumoto Junmai from Kyoto; the cool, briskly melony Kenkon Ichi Junmai Ginjo from Miyagi; the Yamagata Masamune Junmai Ginjo, which was full in body and rich in flavor, in typical Yamagata style; and a Tengumai Tokubetsu Junmai from Ishikawa, with a silky, sleek texture and pungent, peppery green fruit aromas.

I’d give you Shokkan’s address, but it baffles me, and anyway it’s all in Japanese. You could go to their website, which is also all in Japanese, of course. It's definitely a place worth finding.