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Saturday, April 6, 2013

MUGA Day #13: Tokyo--Lunch at the Best Restaurant in Asia


I had a fabulous lunch today with President of Tokyo University of A&T, Tadashi Matsunaga, and his wife Mayumi.  We all agreed that Les Creations de Narisawa was unusual and exceptional.  After all, this is the best restaurant in all of Asia.  

I asked our waiter what kind of cuisine would be served.  To paraphrase:  fusion of Japanese and the World featuring natural products and the environment.  The chef is Yoshihiro Narisawa (here to the left in his kitchen).

To begin the day, I went to Shinjuku Station to work out my Japan Rail Pass and arrange tickets for my itinerary.  It now looks different, featuring Mount Fuji instead of the Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.  It took an hour less than what I was expecting, but I thought I'd find my way to Narisawa just to make sure I knew where it was.  It was closed, so I walked around and thought I'd start the meal with a white wine while sitting on a bench across the street from this restaurant.  Family Mart had one of those glass cups for less than $2.  I sat next to some colorful flowers.


A little after noon I walked in and they took me to our table, where I had a Kir Royale.  The Matsunagas came and they had glasses of champagne.

An odd dough was brought to our table, and allowed to ferment.  Best as I can tell it was a kind of sourdough with herbs, espeially cherry blossoms, and called "Forest 2010" Bread of the Forest:


The dough was placed in a hot natural oven on our table to bake.  We had a Duckhorn Merlot with our meal.

The first item served look like three pieces of turd, but was, it turned out, oysters:


Then came Essence of forest:


Looked like a forest floor.  That brown thing was french fried potato skin.  The liquid in the bamboo cup was cold water.  It was okay.  Six Chiayu (sweet fish) were served:


The guts were still in, meaning there was a bitter taste to the fried fish.  Soil 2001 was a gobo (burdock soup):


Basically, you pick up the cup and drink it.  I've never had gobo soup, but Narisawa made it sweetish and good.  The Matsunagas got crab legs, but I was served the best asparagus I've ever had in the life.  Straight from Saga, Kyushu, and parboiled, with a delicate dressing:


Note artistry.  Ash 2009, Scene of the seashore, somehow was linked to a liquid nitrogen foam:

That is a squid in the seashore:


There is a lot of ceremony to each dish, and the Sawaru (Spanish mackerel) with onion essence was no exception;


Luxury essence 2007 was a black abalone vegetable soup:




Next (above) was fugu (blowfish) from Yamaguchi.  The closest thing to what I had before was fried rattlesnake.  This was the safe part of the fish, the flesh.  The all time high one year had 6 deaths.  I shared with them my experience with Professor Takeo Kondo and Joseph Vadus in Kita-Kyushu, where the meal started with blowfish testicles.  Joe refused to eat his, so I had two.  This was around two decades ago, and many of by best ideas, like the Blue Revolution, were stimulated, I think, by this catalyst.   It is essential that this delicacy be consumed before the mating season, as fugu can be hundreds of times more poisonous than strychnine and cyanide.  Happy to report that I survived this dish again.  The final entre was: 




Yes, that black lump, sliced, yielded a filet, with boiled onion wedge.  The official dessert was a Kuzumochi-Sakekdasu with strawberries:


Of course, the meal was not yet over:


I'm afraid I overdid this and selected half a dozen of them.  I can accept Narisawa as the best restaurant in Asia.  The meal lasted nearly four hours.  Again, Tadashi and Mayumi:


I might finally add that their son, Teipei, is a councilman, among the youngest ones in the country, from the hometown of President Matsunaga, while their daughter, Mariko, just returned to Japan after spending her post-doc in chemistry at Harvard.

I also had another 4-hour encounter that evening in the Tokyo Westin Executive Club in a stimulated discussion on everything from energy to religion with four friends from Hawaii:


Clyde, Jean, Galen and Sharon.  They have been on a roots search.  A memorable day, indeed.

1 comment:

pizzazion said...

That is one awesome looking restaurant!

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