The meal started off with a bang 9/10: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: fried lemon fish, lotus root, roe, tuna wrapped in shiso leaf, giant clam, cooked uni, bamboo shoot, and baby octopus. This dish ran the gamut of salty/sweet/savory/crunchy/soft/gummy/creamy/scratchy/spicy.
Baby eel in ponzu sauce 10/10: Okay I gave it 10/10 because you can see the little eyes and it's so cute, but it basically tastes like a protein noodle. I could substitute noodles with this... but it's probably a little too slimy for most people. And most people don't like their food staring back at them.
Chawanmushi 10/10: It's the classic from Brushstroke next door. It's so nice of them to serve it here as well. It lends a little continuity to the experience other than the location and wood panelling.
Next is the sashimi course. Here are some highlights:
Fluke and fluke fin: 7.5/10. It's really hard for me to like fluke. It tends to be too chewy especially when it's not with something citrus, but these were very fresh and relatively tender. the fluke fin was interesting. It had a much firmer texture and was a little heavier in taste.
Striped jackfish belly 7/10: I really liked the colors, but I felt that the flavor was a little bland. Also the much harder silver part was strange to eat with the tender meat.
Ocean trout from Hokkaido 10/10: So creamy and delicious. It was like a less fishy version of salmon, but was a little fattier tasting than arctic char. After this dish was also delicious striped bass, but it looks pretty similar to the fluke, so I did not take a picture.
Aged mackerel 8/10: I thought it was just the right amount of fishy. I wasn't taken aback, and the saltiness of the sauce and the chives cut through the fishy flavor well. I also liked that it was in a separate container so that it did not contaminate the next course....
Aged toro 10/10: Seriously? I didn't like the first bite (which is missing from the picture) because it was cold. But it quickly grew on me. It was like eating ice cream.... The fish was a little on the cold side, but after one bite, it quickly melted and disappeared, leaving behind only flavor.
Next was the sushi course. It was mesmerizing to watch Chef Ichimura make the sushi. Slice, press, shake, dab, wrap, press, press. He collected the fish with one hand while forming the rice with the other.
Everything was great in its own way. The nuanced evolution of flavors should be experienced first hand.
Striped bass belly
Small anchovies, beautiful and lighter than one would think
Ocean perch!!!! Creamiest. Tenderest. (white) Fish. Ever. But now it's out of season. I got the last one.
Needlefish with cilantro. Looked pretty but didn't taste like anything.
Mackerel, aged for 5 days
Golden eyed snapper. I think the taste was more delicious than red snapper, but I couldn't put my finger on why....
2 kinds of o-toro, one from the belly, and one from the "neck." So good.
Red snapper with sea salt
Scallop aged 4-5 days a.k.a. most tender and delicious scallop ever.
After all this we were so satiated. We sipped some ginger drinks and watched the chef prepare fish for the next seating.
We took a walk around the area and took pictures of the miniature scenes built into the walls
The detail was amazing! I could see the foods they were eating.
Ichimura's greatest merits are the unique selection of fish, and the incredible one-on-one attention from the chef. Although I've been told that when you do not ask for the attention, you do not get it! I was curious about what a fish was at the end of the meal, and he took out a small booklet from his pocket to point out the fish. Whenever I asked why something tasted a little different, he was more than happy to explain.
Like Peter Wells pointed out, Ichimura was a *discovery.* It was like finding one of the tiny scenes in the walls and being transported to a quiet corner in another town at another time... and maybe occasionally bumping into a celebrity or two.