Friday, December 26, 2008

Nadaman, Shinagawa (なだ万)

My friend Mayu was visiting for a weekend wedding (I only mention this because it's funny that he's a Sri Lankan visiting Japan and yet his name sounds fully Japanese-girl) and I wanted to take him someplace impressively Japanese (read: kaiseki), yet within easy reach of his Shinagawa hotel. This proved surprisingly difficult - there was a nice-looking place in Oomori (a place I had never heard of, let alone considered visiting) - and they were full for Monday lunch. This meant that we ended up in (horror) a hotel restaurant.

Nadaman's main restaurant is in Hotel New Otani, and the website tells you a bit about their illustrious history (in English, even). Browsing briefly, it mentions things from ancient history (e.g. Regan and Thatcher really loved it!), and that's a bit of the atmosphere you get when you visit - very nice, very professional, in that slightly threadbare way that you see...well, all over Japan these days.

For lunch, the choice ranges from small (assorted items or beef specialty) up to the mini-kaiseki (which looks like a normal kaiseki to me, except that it doesn't have fried items). We opted for the mini-kaiseki. Trying to impress!

Impress it did. This is the full kaiseki experience (except the aforementioned lack of fried item). The variety is the thing that gets most people - the first course with 4, 5 or 6 items (notable one here was a small sato imo topped with uni and a caramelized walnut). The suimono was also nice - looked like tofu but was in fact a soft kamaboko. The soup itself was delicious, and came with (as the waitress proudly pointed out) two star-shaped pieces of pepper since it was almost Christmas. Yakimono was a bit disappointing (sawara?) - somewhat dry. However it came in a nifty 'treasure chest' dish with paintings of pirates and black ships on the outside, so all wasn't lost.

Service was notable primarily for the amazing fakery of the main waitress's smile. Really extraordinary how much one person can smile when they clearly don't mean any of it.

Within the requirements of the day, this was a great choice and very enjoyable. As a place to go back for dinner, I think one could find better options for the Y10,000 (dinner kaiseki price, plus service). On the other hand, that's pretty cheap for kaiseki.

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1 comment:

  1. It was a great meal. Thanks again, Jon!

    ReplyDelete