Dinner at 八ヶ岳えさき Yatsugatake Esaki
- Photo Views
- Meal Views
Now here is a special story. I got invited by a friend to do a road trip to Yamanashi to go to a Kaiseiki place. Apparently a formerly famous chef from Tokyo who relocated to the countryside. I knew the name but did not make the connection.
It turned out that the chef was Shintaro Esaki, the formerly three star Chef from the namesake restaurant Esaki in Tokyo, which happened to be my first ever three star restaurant in Japan and my introduction to high end Kaiseiki food.
Chef Shintaro Esaki closed his place in Tokyo in 2017, moved to Yamanashi in the mountains and built there a house for himself and his wife and very close to it his new restaurant. This place is one of the most beautiful restaurant experiences I can imaging. A serene setting in the middle of the forest with huge floor to ceiling windows letting the nature flow into the room. The open kitchen looks more like a high-end home kitchen than the work space for an awarded chef and is only a few steps away from your dining table. Chef Shintaro Esaki only takes in one group at the time between 2 and 6 people. Then he starts to cook for them at their pace. He is completely by himself and works with great efficiency. In the morning he forages with some local experts to get herbs and mushrooms, then he receives delivery from his old suppliers of seafood and fish and gets to work in his kitchen.
His cuisine has evolved since I ate there in his Tokyo place 6 years ago. It is, of course, seasonal ingredients driven, all of them of the highest quality, perfectly executed.
His ayu soup, a signature dish, is amazing. One can taste the bitterness of the head at the same time as the sweetness of the tail. A masterpiece!
This place is worth the hike just for the food, however combined with the experience it becomes a pilgrimage.