Chef Patron Shintaro Ezaki worked several years in keiseki style restaurants in Tokyo and Kyoto before he established his own Esaki in 1994. He knows everything worth knowing about the traditional kaiseki, but chose to dedicate his restaurant to a more contemporary cuisine. Chef Ezaki simply took what he considers the best of traditional kaiseki and turned it into his own nouveau Japanese cuisine.
Simplicity is a proper word for Esaki. Pure and beautiful are others. You choose one of the set-course menus, which you will not understand a word of unless you are fluent in Japanese since there are only menus filled with kanji signs, and a string of small dishes will start to arrive in front of you. There are menu dishes in each menu, but they are small so you will have had just enough when you are finished. The menu depends on the seasons, but they all have vegetables and seafood in common. The simmered kinki fish from Hokkaido is amazing and the same with the Japanese dashi with hamaguri. There are many different dishes and you really do not know exactly what it will be until you are seated (and not even then unless you know Japanese). Chef Ezaki’s cuisine will communicate directly with you without any fussiness or layer after layer with different ingredients. What you have is what you see and the final result of it is impeccable.
Esaki’s cuisine is sustainable and leaves a light carbon footprint since all ingredients are locally sourced organic produce and the fish is ethically harvested so you will not find any overfished blue-fin tuna on your plate. Most remarkable is Shintaro Ezaki’s amazing attention to his vegetables which is nothing but perfect. It is impressive how he manages to get every little bit of flavour out of all his vegetables. You will change your view on carrots among other vegetables after a meal at Esaki.
Chef Patron Shintaro Ezaki was born in 1962 in Tokyo and decided early in his life to become a chef. Today he can pride himself on having one of the most awarded restaurants in Tokyo. In addition his restaurant also offers the lowest price per menu compared to the other top rated establishments in the city. As a matter of fact he is around half the price compared to most of the other top dining places, especially during lunch time. That alone makes it worth a visit, combined with Chef Ezaki’s contemporary vision of the traditional kaiseki.
Written by Andy