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Tokyo

Kasumicho Suetomi

霞町 すゑとみ

Simple is best, but simple is difficult. That is Chef Yasuo Suetomi’s motto. It is also why he takes great pleasure in personalizing each guests dining experience and making individual touches that you may not even notice. Walking into Suetomi is like walking into a private apartment, understated yet elegant, much like Suetomi himself and his food. The style here is kappo and sitting at the counter allows you full view of the master at work, but if you are in a small group, there is also a six-person private dining room. There is no menu here. The food is driven by the season and Suetomi’s desire to make it memorable for you.

You will need a good map to find Kasumicho Suetomi, and even when you are standing right out the front, you will doubt whether this is the right place. It’s a somewhat aged, slightly drab-looking typical apartment building in a tiny backstreet just off the main road. But don’t let the ordinary building and entrance deter you – the food and service inside is far from ordinary.

The simple minimalist interior allows you to focus on Chef Suetomi’s craft. The space has simple lines and natural colors, seen in the textured shikkui plaster walls, the clean and cooling presence of the hinoki counter and the white linen noren discreetly dividing the chef’s workspace from the back kitchen. Because chef Suetomi is a lover of fine art and well versed in aesthetics, depending on when you visit, the small alcove straight ahead when you walk in may be decorated with original works by Kusama Yayoi or Rosanjin.

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CUISINE

Eat Seasons of Japan at Suetomi.

Without any menu or extensive explanation, what comes next after you are seated may be unclear, but you know you are in for a treat. The courses always focus on seafood and vegetables, but the exact content is left up to the chef, omakase style. The very simplicity of the dishes is what makes Suetomi’s style so challenging, and the key to success is having the best ingredients in the peak season.

Chef Suetomi takes inspiration from the seasonal ingredients serving dishes following a traditional kaiseki pattern. You might start with an abalone sakizuke course, followed by a wanmono dish of fish and vegetables, sea bream sashimi with uni otsukuri, grilled freshwater eel, and lightly salted grilled baby sweet fish. The course culminates in the seasoned rice dish, cooked especially for each group in clay pots. Enjoy the warming and comforting flavors to your belly and heart’s delight.

Chef Suetomi quietly and thoughtfully cuts, grills, simmers and places the various components of dishes served to guests. He is soft-spoken yet deeply thoughtful, just like his food. He loves to observe and responds in unspoken conversations.
To get an even deeper sense of one season, you can select one of the chef’s special seasonal courses focusing on one ingredient in many forms: hanazansho (Japanese pepper flowers) in early May; hamo in summer; suppon (soft-shell turtle) and matsutake mushrooms in autumn; and crab, in particular, the prized Taiza-gani in winter.

INGREDIENTS
Because the quality of the ingredients determines everything, a major part of Suetomi’s work is nurturing relationships with suppliers, constantly trying new ingredients, tasting and assessing. He may try one hundred purveyors before he finds one that meets his high standards. One supplier is a friend of Suetomi’s. Rather fortuitously, he is one of a small number of fisherman at Taiza port in Kyoto, famed for rich and rare Taiza-gani crabs. This relationship guarantees delicious product for Suetomi to work with, and a full crab course is highly recommended by the chef.

Because he uses the highest quality ingredients, Suetomi focuses on bringing out the best in their innate flavors with minimal intervention in his authentic and careful approach. That is the essence of washoku.

CHEF

Yasuo Suetomi

A self-described worrywart, Suetomi never meets his own expectations. However, you get the feeling that behind the serious and philosophical exterior is someone who enjoys a joke. He has this slightly cheeky flair, for when he allows himself a smile, it is big and full and beaming.

He talks about his younger days and flicking through the pages of a magazine as his shinkansen hurtled him from his hometown of Fukuoka to the capital. He was making a mental list of places he wanted to work. With just two years of hotel banquets experience under his belt, he had hardly held a knife, but with nothing to lose he knocked on the door at one of Tokyo’s premier Japanese dining establishments and asked for a job.

Chef Hiromitsu Nozaki of Waketokuyama, famous for his traditional with a twist style Japanese cuisine and as the author of countless books, trained and groomed him Suetomi. After working together for ten years, Nozaki encouraged him to use a restaurant space he had vacated to open his own place. And that was the start of Kasumicho Suetomi in 2006.
His parents did not support his career choice. They were a family of public servants, and Suetomi could not think of anything worse than following in their footsteps. As a child growing up in Fukuoka, Suetomi regularly enjoyed fresh seafood dishes that many would consider a luxury. His favorite food memory is diving into a plate of freshly boiled shako mantis shrimp, tearing them apart with scissors and devouring the sweet flesh dipped in mayonnaise.

At eateries, he was drawn to the cooks with their cool and slightly wild demeanor breaking down fish that were still flapping their mouths. He wanted that lifestyle. Perhaps lugging sacks of potatoes or piling pickles on wedding banquet plates was not what he had in mind, but his initial work at the hotel set him on a path that has brought him to the present, creating extraordinary food for customers with the highest of expectations.

VISION
Chef Suetomi says he didn’t have a clue what he was doing at first. He remembers some of the dishes he made and chuckles to himself at their inadequacy. The years of reflection and sometimes harsh but always graciously accepted comments from customers have brought him to one very clear understanding: customers simply want great food.
As for his vision for the future, he says he tosses around with different ideas. Chef Suetomi has this unpredictable element which makes you think that anything is possible.

TABLEWARE

Some of the plates, bowls and sake cups are so exquisite you will be afraid to take them in your hands. An incredible collection of antique items to suit the ingredients, the mood, the customer. A Min Dynasty ceramic dish, a Bacarat crystal bowl, Wajima lacquerware, Edo period pottery, a delicate wooden platter daintily holding up two small sweet fish. Suetomi has great respect for the skills behind the items and the hard work required of the artisans to master the craftsmanship.

Tokyo

Kasumicho Suetomi

霞町 すゑとみ

TABELOG
4.52
POINT
PRICE
¥35,000
~
CHILD
12
& UP
VEGAN
WELCOME
PRIVATE ROOM
For 4-6 People
LUNCH
OPEN
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Kaiseki, Nishiazabu
ADDRESS
3F Yahata Building, 4-2-13 Nishiazabu Minato-ku, Tokyo
OPEN
Open For Lunch. Dinner: 5PM-9PM (LO)
CLOSED
Monday
URL
N/A
PHONE
03-5466-1270

RESERVATION

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