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Tokyo

Myojaku

明寂

Two Michelin stars were bestowed on Myojaku in the first release of the famous guidebook after this restaurant opened its doors. From the flavors and interior to the chef’s skills, personality, and polished sensibilities, it is clear why this jewel of Japanese cuisine joined the ranks of impossible-to-book Tokyo eateries in the blink of an eye.

Every element at Myojaku is formed from an aesthetic built on the concepts of harmony, subtlety, and clarity. Ultimately, cuisine should show the essence of its elements. To this end, Chef Nakamura creates his space and food from a place of profound insight, careful techniques, and supple sensibility. The restaurant’s name perfectly captures Chef Nakamura’s philosophy with its combination of the characters for ‘brightness’ and ‘tranquility’. The idea is originally from philosopher Yusuke Yamaguchi, whose concept in Japanese of akaru sabi was adopted by ceramic artist Seimei Tsuji, who interpreted it as a graceful and carefree feeling, like the clear sky at dawn. He sought a beauty exuding splendor from within his pieces of rustic simplicity.

Located one street back from the busy Roppongi-dori thoroughfare in a quiet residential street of Nishi-Azabu, Myojaku was designed by architect Tetsu Kijima, and the minimalist, elegant space with its exquisite Japanese cuisine has captured the attention of connoisseurs almost overnight. The restaurant’s signboard contains the austere Japanese characters of calligraphy artist Mikiko Kayama. The chef cooks for his guests seated at the counter or in one of the two small private rooms, and an additional small counter will someday be used as a bar. An eight-meter single spruce plank takes center stage in a setting that makes you feel among nature, with motifs of timber and earthen walls and restrained Japanese-style flower arrangements by Fuan in Minami-Aoyama.

Japanese materials and craftsmanship are all around, from the chef’s stunning ginkgo wood chopping board to the lacquered wooden trays by Yoshitake Kihira found at each guest’s setting. The fine, elongated chopsticks tapered at both ends are called Rikyubashi, named for the famous 16th-century tea ceremony master who would shave the tips for his guests just before service. Chef Nakamura jests that he consulted Rikyu when deciding to use the slightly longer than typical 27-cm chopsticks, feeling they fit this space. The tableware collection contains the works of modern artists and is sourced through Ginza’s Pond Gallery. The chef has been using the gallery’s pieces for his presentation since long before Myojaku opened, so he knew them well and steadily built up the collection with pieces that caught his eye.

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CUISINE

Harmony, subtlety, and clarity

Japanese cuisine is all about the dashi and how it accentuates the innate flavors of stunning seasonal ingredients. At Myojaku, Chef Nakamura’s focus is one step further back on the raw ingredients; here, it is about the ingredients themselves and one of Japan's most treasured natural resources – water. This is symbolized in the opening dish of the degustation course, made only with vegetables, water, and salt, the simplicity of which the chef hopes leaves guests with a deep impression of the water.

The course continues in a traditional kaiseki pattern with an appetizer, sashimi, and a bowl dish, followed by charred, steamed, and fried seasonal produce, and continuing through soba, a grilled dish, a hot pot, and the closing rice dish before arriving at dessert. The delectable fifteen-dish course, which changes monthly and is altered for repeat guests, is composed by the chef who takes a long look at every item entering his kitchen before deciding on a method to highlight their qualities. The clean flavors of his cuisine cleanse your taste buds and sharpen your senses. Each seemingly simple dish will take your breath away, filled with the chef’s ingenious touches and unique sensibilities. Using every part of carefully grown produce without waste, the chef treats his guests to new ingredients and previously unknown flavors. The cuisine conveys tranquility and elegant simplicity, as seen in the aesthetic concept of sabi, and a sense of brightness.

A Japanese summer delicacy is the freshwater fish ayu or sweetfish. Caught in the crisp waters of Tenryugawa in Nagano, the fish is fried before being infused with roasted flavor over charcoals and served over vinegared rice with a sprinkling of knotweed. Guests are invited to wrap it in an impossibly thin white omelet to enjoy. The format for this signature dish is maintained throughout the year but features different seasonal fish, like iwana Japanese char, honshishamo smelt, and mehikari greeneyes fish. In all versions, the resplendent figure of the fish takes pride of place in the center of the plate.

A succulent piece of shimaaji striped jack is roasted first over rice straw and then charcoals and served with young renkon lotus root in three textures – sliced, chopped, and finely grated in ponzu. An indulgent dish of toothsome abalone in flavorful, creamy broth wows guests and keeps their sake flowing. The bowl dish showcases the chef’s knife skills with plump pieces of hamo daggertooth pike conger, sweet Awajishima onions, and the tender core of a plum seed. Not only has the chef brought the ingredients together for a wonderful flavor combination, but he has also carefully calculated the preparation of the onions to achieve a texture that falls between the fluffy flesh of the fish and the firmness of the kernel.

Silky-smooth squid filled with glutinous rice and pieces of baby corn are covered in a striking squid ink batter, deep-fried, and served alongside fried baby corn silks. Dessert is a refreshing citrus treat featuring konatsu new summer orange and amanatsu in juice, as carefully plucked individual vesicles and a meticulously prepared delectable paste. A sprinkling of the dried citrus peel adds texture and a touch of bitterness.

INGREDIENTS
The all-important water used in Nakamura’s cuisine is brewing water from two sake breweries. The first is from Kyotango’s Takeno Brewery, famed for its Yasakatsuru brand. It is specially chosen for its pleasant texture and long aftertaste and features in an opening dish of boiled vegetables. The second water variety comes from Fukumitsuya Brewery in Ishikawa Prefecture, with its Kagatobi and Fukumasamune brands. It is combined with buckwheat flour, also from Ishikawa, to make 100% buckwheat soba noodles.

The glistening white grains are the Akitakomachi and Tsuyahime rice varietals from Akita and Yamagata prefectures, respectively. Sumptuous sea bream from the rich waters of Akashi are sourced directly through fishermen who catch in the fishing grounds that Nakamura considers the sweet spot – where the fish go back and forth between the ocean and the inland sea. Many of the other ingredients are grown by a former work colleague who returned to their hometown.

Myojaku cuisine #0
Myojaku cuisine #1

CHEF

Hidetoshi Nakamura

Hidetoshi Nakamura is a Tokyo native born in 1976 and raised by parents who ran a Japanese tapas-style eatery in the Senkawa neighborhood. It seemed only natural to follow in their footsteps, and after graduating from Heisei Cooking School in Tokushima, Nakamura trained at famed restaurants in Kyoto and Tokyo. He served as the head chef at a Japanese restaurant in Akasaka before going independent in April 2022 with Myojaku. He is stern in his approach to cooking yet incredibly warm and cheerful in interactions with guests. He prefers to stay indoors on days off and treasures time with his partner and their young child.

VISION
Nakamura’s only focus is treating every guest who enters the doors to a unique and moving dining experience. That motivates him to build on his cuisine every day through a process of trial and error.

DRINKS

Sommelier Yuka Nakano has selected around 100 varieties of red and white wines, mainly from the regions of Burgundy and Champagne, and a separate wines-by-the-glass list of ten Japanese wines. Her choice of sake matches Chef Nakamura’s delicate cuisine, including rarer styles from Aramasa in Akita Prefecture and the highly sought-after Jikon from Mie Prefecture’s Kiyasho Brewery. The list is completed with more than 30 seasonal sake brands from around the country, like Tenon and Tamazakura from Shimane and Komagura from Fukuoka.

Course

Dinner
Myojaku omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
¥53,500
¥53,500
Reservation Request
Dinner
Myojaku omakase course from April 2024
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
¥58,500
¥58,500
Reservation Request

Tokyo

Myojaku

明寂

MICHELIN
2
STAR
PRICE
¥53,500
~
CHILD
12
& UP
PRIVATE ROOM
2-6 people
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Kaiseki, Nishi Azabu
ADDRESS
B1F, 3-2-34 Nishiazabu,Minato-ku, Tokyo
OPEN
5PM-, 8:30PM-
CLOSED
Sunday
URL
NA
PHONE
NA

RESERVATION

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