From the Tokyo
Journal article by Chef David Kinch that originally appeared on
2009 Gastromondiale.com. Used by permission. All rights
Kishida was the opening second under Pascal Barbot at L'Astrance
in Paris where he remained for almost 4 years. He is an
unabashed disciple of Chef Barbot, praising him above and beyond
on his website and even patterning his menu format as the same
as his mentor. So what is one going to get when you dine at his
newly minted ***star in the Shirokane district?
Was it going to be a copy or an original cuisine brought on by
the vagaries of ingredients and sensibilities of being halfway
around the world within the framework of his mentor?
There are a lot of Japanese branches here of famous foreign
chefs, and frankly amongst the locals in the know they don't
speak highly of the franchises. Is Koshida his own man, paying
his respects and acknowledging his mentor or is he the strangest
sort of outpost, the one that doesn't even have a legitimate
connection with the originator?
The restaurant is tucked away like a boutique on a beautiful
little residential street. It has about 25 seats and a one menu
only format based on the market.
We had a very good and interesting meal here; contemporary,
filled with original ideas yet solidly based on simplicity and
There were some stunning dishes of the highest quality and of a
memorable nature that speak of Kishida’s talent.
A bavarois of goat cheese from Kyoto, macadamia nuts with olive
oil was a stunner that took my breath away. A light, ethereal
cloud, so delicate that it fell apart almost if you blew on it,
was flavored with a mild goat cheese fabricated in Kyoto,
seasoned with fleur du sel and had small petals of blanched
spring onion and thin pieces of shaved raw macadamia nut. It was
barely moistened was a fragrant, just pressed olive oil from the
south of France. So simple and beautiful, this was a noble dish
with humble ingredients.
Two desserts stood out and have remained reference points for
Coconut custard was topped with virgin pistachio oil with a
float of strong espresso. This was so satisfying, just
outstanding sensibilities, balance and seasoning, bitterness
playing a pleasing role, a theme that was played out often on
The finale, a dish of merengue brûlée ice cream was superb,
finally, a refined dessert with a truly adult taste of
Other dishes of interest just below the heights of those
~A small tomato, peeled and then fried in the form of a beignet.
Perched precariously on top were thin slices of marinated
sardines, some shavings of raw fennel, and just a touch of
The tomato was raw, yet warmed through by the frying process. It
burst its tomato water and seeds, which mingled with granite to
become the sauce.
~Fat white asparagus from Japan of outstanding quality, gently
warmed with pieces of bay scallop and very juicy clams. All
sauced with a powerful seaweed butter.
~Ako fish from Kyushu. A member of the sea bream family, the
filet was cooked whole at a very low temperature and then sliced
into individual pieces as the skin then takes on a beautiful
mother of pearl glow, like an abalone shell. Fiddle head ferns,
flowering coriander and a delicate sauce made from salted cherry
blossom leaves add a fleeting floral element. The fish was of an
extremely excellent quality, an unsurprising theme that remained
constant during the entire journey.
~French pintade, slowly roasted whole, impressed with a superb,
gamey flavor. It was all framed with a condiment of a type of
red treviso, roasted with raspberry vinegar and carrots.
Cheese consisted of a three year old Comté from the affineur
Kishida talked about the one menu market concept, which was not
well taken to in Tokyo and they struggled at first as people
demanded choice. But he has stuck to his vision, and appears to
be succeeding. He is a very talented young man and appears to be
handling the high expectations and the ensuing pressure in good
humor and stride. The heights of the bavarois, the quality of
the game bird and the coconut with espresso are world class. He
is his own cook without overt references to his master, all very
The restaurant is young like its chef and his team and he has
the pressure of the stars but I think with a couple of tweaks
with service and a bit more time under his belt it is going to
be really scary how good he is going to be.
His potential is enormous.
1958 Meursault Tastevinage from the Chevalier du Tastevin.
1961 Ch. Brane Cantenac