I ate here in mid-October when Shimizu — who has a background in farming — was making great use of the fruits and fish of the season. Hamo (conger eel) turned up in nearly every course, cooked in a variety of ways. On the day I visited, Shimizu also utilized a charcoal fire and one of the great things about my counter seat was witnessing the little wing fins of ayu (sweetfish) flutter from the intensity of the fire. It was as if the fish had come alive once more, despite being skewered head to tail. There are two set menus for lunch, and just one at dinner. I opted for the ¥5,400 lunch, which sadly didn’t include the salted sweetfish, as well as an extra serving with matsutake mushroom. However, I did get a little of the luxury mushroom in the nabe (hot pot), which included a host of other fungi, such as enoki, maitake and shitake as well as cuts of inoshishi (wild boar). Although the pace of lunch is slow, Shimizu builds an easy atmosphere with his food and conversation. The meal ended with fresh persimmon served in a majestic glass bowl with a drizzle of custard cream flavored with brandy. Without doubt, one of my best meals of the year.
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