1-3-1 Fukuzumi / Koto-ku / +81 3 3643 8383 / reservations +81 66 9670 15049
11:30am-1:30pm and 5-9pm / closed Wednesday / English is not spoken
It’s interesting, if not a little sad, that so much of the attention focused on the stellar Japanese culinary scene seems to fall on sushi and sashimi, and all too rarely on that sublimely crisp coupling of flour and hot oil otherwise known as tempura.
At Michelin-starred Mikawa Zezankyo, chef and maestro Tetsuya Saotome redresses this balance, by serving nothing but tempura, and furthermore, specifically the classic Edo-mae (Edo-style) tempura using ingredients the majority of which would have been available 150 years ago, like sesame instead of vegetable oil for frying.
This kind of haute specialisation and attention to detail is the result of over 30 years of experience, with only the raw ingredients prepared by helpers while the crucial frying remains the exclusive domain of Saotome himself – when he goes on holiday, the restaurant closes!
The traditional sequence of shrimp and shrimp head, squid, various fish and Saotome’s signature conger eel is supplemented with seasonal vegetables like asparagus and shitake mushrooms, followed by miso soup with clams and tempura-ed tiny scallops. With only nine seats at the bar and two small private tatami rooms, snagging a highly prized reservation will be your first problem, never wishing to leave will be your next. Itadakimasu!