'Vehicle of God' is, I suppose, an OK translation, but more a funny one (as you can see from the picture, it's an omikoshi; koshi seems a little archaic to me, so 'palanquin' might be better? If there's anyone out there who actually speaks Japanese, please, please set me straight.).
I would wear this jacket if I owned it.
Look, there's no way you'd get in here without a reservation - and this is the total of the signage, and it's imposingly clean and bare, so you probably wouldn't wander in either. I didn't realize it was starred when I booked it; this is strictly Tabelog-driven (it's #10 in Kyoto today, but there are 3 non-Japanese places ahead of it - French, Chinese, and sweets).
If you're wondering why it's so empty after me going on about how you couldn't just walk in, it's because I booked for 1 PM and was the last person to leave. This photo is sort of posthumous, I think that's the term.
Everything here is really new and clean, in a timeless Japanese style that's also somehow a level or two up from the timeless Japanese style of many of these places. I asked if the place was new, and okami san said "Well, pretty new. We've only been here since the end of Showa, so that's, let's see, 23 years." Insert standard travel/food writer comment about the pace of life and ancient mysteries of Heian Kyo.
Incidentally, can anyone point me to a site talking about the traditional course sequence? What I saw so far on various sites didn't look like my experience in general, especially not Kyoto. And there are a lot of people saying "It follows the traditional sequence of courses," like they have some idea. Let me also sneak in before we get started that this is their most expensive lunch.
Koshichijifubuki, a rare sake from Niigata. Ordinarily, well, these days at least, descriptions of rarity make me suspicious, but this one really does seem to be such. And it was great to drink out of that glass, on a saucer with a leaf on it. Little touches, eh?
Murray Carter measures all his knives in units of 'sun'. That's about 3 cm. This course of assorted bits always comes in a square box...which I guess is traditionally 8 sun square, 八寸, and Microsoft knows exactly what I mean when I type that, probably in reference to the course. Anyhoo, you have a good piece of miso-grilled sawara (it's funny that people in Kyoto never say it's 'saikyo yaki', but I guess that makes sense, like you just say 'cheesesteak' in Philadelphia.), some fresh black beans still in the shell, a crosswise slice of late-season sweetfish with the eggs inside, fish paste 'castella' (which is usually a dreadfully dull sponge cake-like dessert), spinach in white sesame, and ikura in a sudachi shell. Sure, it was all good.
at retail. You're going to think I'm an idiot, but the pickled daikon were also incredible. It was the soup that really got me though. It's very, very rare that something is so incomprehensible that I just sit and look at it and think 'what the hell?' but this was that. The bowl was nice too... I asked if I could have more of the soup, and they were reticent, but brought a different bowl shortly after. Good lord and butter, that was something else.
On the other hand, I like to know that kind of thing, and I would probably not go in if I knew it was only zashiki. So what am I saying, really?
Kyoto - see you soon. Anyone want to go?