Tell us about your initial impressions of the place when you got there.
Ishikawa is a tranquil oasis of light wood and clean lines nestled in the cobblestone backstreets of historic Kagurazaka, Tokyo’s ancient geisha neighborhood. The restaurant has a seven-seat bar and four small private dining rooms. As you approach the doorway, you are greeted by kimono-clad women who have sprinkled water over it in accordance with Shinto custom before your arrival. Chef Hideki Ishikawa may be serious about his food, but he enjoys a good joke as well. Don’t be scared by the quiet, professional ambiance inside—
The main attraction is the cuisine. Give us the dirt on everything, particularly what we shouldn’t miss.
Ishikawa is a classic kaiseki restaurant in the sense that it is all about the details. It has maintained its three Michelin stars since the red book made its debut in Tokyo in 2008, and the super-refined cuisine is based on the use of the highest-quality Japanese ingredients available. Seasonal dishes are included on the 10-course tasting menu, including young sweetfish the size of your pinky in summer and deep-fried croquettes made with sea turtle and lotus root in winter, among other things. Ishikawa is known for its excellent grilled fish, which goes well with the restaurant’s extensive sake and wine choices. During a recent visit, the horsehead snapper was buttery and the skin was properly crisped. The star of the show, though, was the clay-pot rice dish with scallops, which was prepared tableside by the chef.
Cuisine Type: Japanese
Address: 5-37 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0825, Japan
Phone: +81 50-3138-5225
Website: Kagurazaka Ishikawa Official Site
Hours: Closed: Monday, lunch : Tuesday-Saturday, Sunday
Michelin Stars: 3