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Kitcho: Japan's Ultimate Dining Experience

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Kitcho has long been heralded by many as Japan's premier dining establishment. The restaurant is "exclusive, refined, and exotic, almost something dreamed rather than lived," wrote Jonathan Hayes in The New York Times. Indeed, under chef Kunio Tokuoka's watchful eye, it has reached new heights for its superb food, atmosphere, and presentation.

Tokuoka stands at the top of his profession. Yet his approach to cooking is remarkably simple. How can he draw out the best flavors for a hearty stock? How can he cook a fish so that it becomes a transformative experience for even the most jaded diner? Simply by finding the optimum way to prepare and cook each ingredient so as to extract its peak flavor. While his techniques have a dazzling clarity and focus, he works in one of the world's most complex—and rewarding—food traditions.

Kaiseki, Japan's exquisite haute cuisine, has its origins in the sixteenth century as an accompaniment to the tea ceremony. Over time, tea kaiseki evolved into a highly formalized artistic cuisine that celebrated the seasons by using only fresh, natural, local ingredients. Yet, by many standards, the fare, while delicious, remained austere.

When Tokuoka's grandfather opened his first modest restaurant in 1930, he began combining the refined traditions of the tea ceremony with other Japanese classical elements to create a vibrant, contemporary cuisine that ushered the experience from the exclusivity of the teahouses to the restaurants of the nation.

As did his grandfather and father before him, Kunio Tokuoka has maintained the highest standards while expanding the cuisine's reach. "Kitcho: Japan's Ultimate Dining Experience" reveals every facet of kaiseki, covering the intricacies of entertaining, food arrangement, and Japanese aesthetics. Through the brilliant photography of Kenji Miura, the concise commentary of Chef Tokuoka, and the pen of food critic Nobuko Sugimoto, Western food lovers have—for the first time—a chance to step behind the closed doors of this superlative restaurant and share what lures loyal patrons back time and time again.

© Japan Today

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17 Comments
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Sounds good to me. Anyone recommend a good kaiseki place, please?

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I love Kaiseki Ryori and Tofu senmon restaurants. Want to try this place out.

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Remember that this is the same place that consciously lied to customers for more than 10 years about their foods, revealed in 2007...

This book plug here sounds a bit like an attempt to get customers to forget the recent past, and perhaps get sales back where they once were. Any search on "kitcho" and "scandal" will easily reveal the details, despite the stupid rule here on JT about no links.

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I'm with escape artist. No way I would trust these scammers.

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They "recycled" their food is what they did. You'd think they'd be making enough money charging ridiculous prices so they wouldn't have to cut corners.

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Wow, thanks for mentioning that, escape artist. I went and read some old news stories on this... How would anybody be able to trust them again? I certainly wouldn't.

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Remember that this is the same place that consciously lied to customers for more than 10 years about their foods, revealed in 2007...

This book plug here sounds a bit like an attempt to get customers to forget the recent past, and perhaps get sales back where they once were. Any search on "kitcho" and "scandal" will easily reveal the details, despite the stupid rule here on JT about no links.

@escape_artist

You're a little wrong here.

You're thinking about 船場吉兆 (Funaba Kitcho). Part of the Kitcho group but not the same restaurant. It split from the main group in the early 90's or something.

So this Kitcho is a different place.

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Mistake: Senba Kitcho.

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"the most jaded diner"

These jaded diners are people who think the world owes them delicious food cooked just for them.

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MrDog, OK, if you're right. I'll then stand corrected, and my apologies to everyone for passing wrong info. But, do you have any links to back up what you say? Are you sure the same shady folks running Senba Kitcho have/had absolutely nothing to do with the Kitcho apparently highlighted in this book? I do think it's still important to expose this kind info if it exists.

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@escape artist

Wiki 吉兆 or 船場吉兆 and it's all written there.

Senba is part of the Kitcho group, but it's not Kitcho. The owners are family, but still, wrong restaurant.

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(whispering) "Just say your mind's a blank!!"

"My mind's a blank, my mind's a blank..."

If there were a prize for worst damage-control press conference of 2007, that would've been right up there with "Meat Hope"...

But MrDog's right, despite the family/organizational connections, the two restaurants were run independently, and fortunately the loony misdeeds of the Osaka branch did not reflect the practices of the renowned "honke", which suffered only temporary setbacks as a result of the scandal in 2007.

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The owners are family, but still, wrong restaurant.

same family, same thing.

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same family, same thing.

No, it isn't.

So, by your logic, if Taco Bell serves out-of-date food, KFC or Pizza Hut are to blame?

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if it's a corporate management decision (which it seems to have been), yes.

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if it's a corporate management decision (which it seems to have been), yes.

No it doesn't "seem to have been" a corporate management decision. Where is your evidence?

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Used to love these kinds of places. But no more. Just give me good quality freshly cooked rice (preferrably whole brown rice) , soup (miso thank you), noodles (soba/udon without pork soup thank you), fruit, vegetables, peanuts, sesame, tofu, a thin slice of meat/fish if you choose, and nice hot tea after the meal.....day after day after day. Its the real "dining" experience. All the rest is for show...and at least $50 a pop.

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