Lunch at Matsukawa

Lunch at Matsukawa

at Matsukawa (松川) on 11 January 2024
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Tucked within the prestigious Minato district of Tokyo, Matsukawa presents itself as a paragon of kaiseki cuisine. This invitation-only retreat, with its adherence to a cash-only policy, stands out for its commitment to seasonal and quality ingredients, reflecting in a menu that is as fleeting as the seasons themselves. The intimate space, designed for a select twenty-two, becomes a stage where culinary theatre plays out with the freshest catches like hair crab and conger eel.

At the helm is Chef Tadayoshi Matsukawa, whose culinary repertoire is honed under the Michelin-starred guardianship of Seisoka, guiding Matsukawa to its Gold level status on Tabelog. His mastery is a dance of flavors, celebrating the wabi-sabi philosophy and the monastic precision of shojin ryori.

Our recent visit to Matsukawa was a delightful foray into this exquisite culinary tradition. The meal was a tapestry woven with precision by Chef Matsukawa and his team, each course a stanza in a poem of Japanese gastronomy.

The Horsehair crab, or kegani, was the versatile muse, presenting a trilogy of delights—from its unadulterated form cradling rice in its shell to the charred depth of its grilled legs and the refined simplicity of its sashimi incarnation.

The suppon, a grilled turtle, brought a rich and succulent narrative to the table, followed by the kamo, whose duck flavors blossomed in a shabushabu preparation before melding into a soba noodle broth, each sip an umami sonnet.

A revered crescendo was the famed rice dish, an orchestra of textures and flavors with the crispness of roasted nori, the pop of ikura, and the musky whisper of karasumi. This ensemble of ingredients played a harmonious finale that was both contrasting and complementary.

Amidst the tranquil ambiance that is Matsukawa's signature, the lunch transcended mere dining; it was a culinary journey through the pinnacle of kaiseki offerings. The experience was a deep dive into the art of Matsukawa's cuisine, leaving an indelible impression of Japanese culinary finesse.

Kaiseki
9 / 10