Sakaguchi Building, 6F
5-5-13, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Contact | 03.5537.0010
Sushi was our first order of business after arriving at Tokyo and checking into the hotel. Jay had some local help landing a reservation at this very cozy but also very urban sushi restaurant called Seamon, tucked away on the 6th floor of an assuming building amid the glimmery shops of Ginza.
Food from the small hole-in-the walls is great enough as it is, but the other side of Japanese dining needs to be experienced at some of the finer establishments.
Booking from abroad can be a little frustrating, so without a local contact, make sure to keep in touch with your hotel concierges. Most of these types of restaurants will open up reservations a month or two in advance, and most likely require someone to call early that day to get nab a spot. Some restaurants will express their preference for at least one Japanese speaker in the party, so going through someone local can help facilitate that process.
At Seamon, you’ll step off the elevator into a dim reception area. Then with the turn or a corner, you’ll find a row of vivid lights beaming down on Seamon’s red and black lacquer bar. Think a Blue Ribbon-type vibe in Soho.
This was our home for the next two hours, where you got to enjoy any omakase of your choosing, regardless of your companions’ selections, for what turns out to be at about half the cost of something similar in New York. The service is seamlessly paced and food artfully curated. It set a pretty high bar for the rest of the trip.
It’s been nearly two months since the meal, and the overall experience still stands out as one of the best restaurant-dining moments in that very food-packed two-week trip. And within that, the red snapper sashimi is what I’ll remember most.
Red snapper’s not typically a fish one would think of for sushi. But when done right, it can be more luscious than tuna, more buttery than salmon. And that’s exactly how the red snapper was at Seamon. With just the warm pillowy rice beneath it, the fish slowly melts in your mouth like a spoonful of whipped cream.
I’ll admit that despite my love of sushi, there’s only so much you can do with raw fish. And most of that comes in the access to and preparation of it. So the artistry of Seamon mainly shined through some of it non-sushi entrees. The micro ingredients that go into each dish exemplify the unparalleled care and attention to detail that make Japanese cuisine what it is. Even something as simple as the ikura — just a spoonful of it drippled onto a bed of rice — was more than what it seemed with the roe bursting with long-marinated flavor.
I don’t have the likes of Jiro to compare Seamon against on its home turf, but it outdoes most of the sushi meals I’ve had in New York — maybe not always in terms of creativity and selection, but without a doubt in terms of value. And while places like Kura and Yasuda some close, it’s how effortlessly Seamon does it that makes comparisons to Manhattan sushi a bit unfair.