Dinner at Shinohara (銀座 しのはら)
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Chef Shinohara opened his namesake restaurant 4 years ago and shot like a rocket to Tabelog Gold level in four years. He excels in a creative cuisine presented very aesthetically. His flavours are restrained but this subtlety brings out the best of the main ingredient.
His signature dish, the suppon or softshell turtle, gets marinated, grilled on the Binchō-tan grill, re-marinated and charred one more time on the grill. The result is extraordinary. I have been told by regulars that the suppon is always on the menu but always different.
The Hassun (八寸), the decorative course, which sets the seasonal theme, was given the season decorated with Sakura in full bloom. Very beautiful and full of little tasty discoveries. There must have been at least 12 different little bits on it.
Some dishes are pure genius. Proof by example is his Monaka (最中). Normally a sweet dish made out mochi and filled with bean jam, gets served here with foie gras and a whisky jelly. This very unlikely pairing works extraordinarily well. Other Chefs also fill monaka with foie gras (like the famous Den in Tokyo), but I cannot recall ever having had a pairing with whisky.
Of course we had some Take 竹 (bamboo), sourced from Kyoto and dug out from almost 2 meters in the ground. Served on various dishes as a side, but prominently featured on the Gohan (御飯), the rice dish. A crunchy texture, warm in the core but still very juicy, simple perfection.
The main event was the hairy lobster on the counter during the meal alive, then cut apart, cooked and served in a wonderful dashi.
The restaurant is counter seating, 11 seats, with clean wooden lines and beautiful dinnerware.
I would gladly recommend this restaurant to anybody, however compared to some of its peers in Ginza, it is an unbelievable value for money.