Evolving traditions from one of Japan’s most successful and creative chefs
Chief reason to visit: Old meets new in chef Seiji Yamamoto’s kaiseki in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. While lately his approach leans more towards the traditional, there’s always a focus on learning and evolving.
A few words on the chef: For 11 years, Yamamoto trained under one of Japan’s most revered chefs, Hirohisa Koyama of Aoyagi restaurant. After opening Nihonryori RyuGin in 2003, he gained acclaim for his use of modernist techniques.
Typical dishes: It’s hard to say what a typical dish is when the menu changes daily, but what is consistent is freshness – dishes are decided each morning depending on what is available at the markets. Among what you might find are bamboo shoots and wild herbs in spring, sweetfish in summer and the wild mushrooms of autumn. Signature dishes include ‘A Message from the Coast of Japan’ and ‘Sanuki Wagyu Beef and Matsutake Mushrooms in Toban Sukiyaki.’
True dedication: Yamamoto is so committed to understanding food and ingredients that he had an eel CT scanned to better understand how to carve it.
Beyond Japan: Yamamoto has expanded beyond Japan’s borders to open Tenku RyuGin in Hong Kong in 2012 and Shoun RyuGin in Taipei in 2014.