Tokyo Food Page
Seigetsu/
Kagurazaka: Izakaya
3269-4320
Data
Unlike many sake-
connoisseur pubs,
the food here stands
on its own, and
would make Seigetsu
worth a visit even
if they only served
tea. The charcoal-
grilled chicken is
especially outstand-
ing, and the various
Korean-influenced
dishes are worth a
try. The staff is
friendly and knowl-
edgeable, with spe-
cially designated
shochu consultants
available should you
need their services.
The atmosphere is
relaxed and cozy.

Seigetsu is the most
comfortable izakaya
we've been to in
quite awhile. The
large interior is
cleverly divided up
into semi-private
areas with just a
few tables each, so
it feels cozy in
spite of the size.
The lighting is
subdued, and the
decor strikes a nice
balance between
tasteful and casual,
with rough stucco
walls, delicate
bamboo screens and
solid wooden tables.


In addition to the
private nooks,
there's also seating
at a spacious main
counter for those
who want to be in
the middle of the
action. Here the
heart of the opera-
tion is the grill
area - set behind a
protective plexi-
glass window to stop
flying sparks -
where chefs tend to
the skewers of
chicken and fish
cooking slowly over
the charcoal pit.

Wherever you decide
to settle in, your
first order of busi-
ness will be an
inspection of the
drinks menu - a
pleasant but time-
consuming task if
you happen to be a
sake or shochu affi-
cianado. The sake
list offers a few
dozen selections
from around the
country, plus plenty
of seasonal spe-
cials. The waiters
know the sake
choices well and can
give advice if you
ask, while certain
staff members are
designated as in-
house shochu consul-
tants should your
tastes run in that
direction. The sho-
chu menu covers
areas of Japan be-
sides just Kyushu -
on a whim we tried a
shiso-flavored sho-
chu from Hokkaido
that was surprising-
ly dry and very
pleasant (and a
bargain at only
Y400).

There's a full iza-
kaya menu, but the
grilled meats and
seafood are defi-
nitely the place to
start. On a recent
visit we enjoyed
exceptionally good
chicken wings -
slow-cooked so that
the skin was crispy
all the way through,
not just on the
surface, while the
meat remained moist
and flavorful. The
jidori-yaki (grilled
free-range chicken)
was also first-rate,
and was served with
a delightful ume-
flavored miso as an
alternative to the
usual usual shio/
tare choices, which
are also available.
Even a dish as sim-
ple as grilled
asparagus stood out
- thick, tender
chunks with a subtly
smoky flavor and a
satisfying crunch.

Also worth mention-
ing was our compli-
mentary bowl of
wakame chips -
slightly crumbly,
deep-fried bits of
seaweed that were
delicately flavored
and just salty
enough to be washed
down with a sip of
sake. Other unusual
menu items include
tofu made from eda-
mame, and tempura-
fried shrimp with
garlic mayonaisse.

Seigetsu has a
neighborhood feel to
it, and the layout
favors twosomes and
small groups rather
than larger ones.
The typical custom-
ers seem more like
creative profession-
als rather than
salarymen or stu-
dents, and the me-
dian age is probably
mid-thirties. It's a
sophisticated clien-
tele that's also
value-conscious -
the average check
runs just Y3000-
5000, for remarkably
good food and sake.
Photo
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Map for DoCoMo
Nearest restau-
rants

Nearest cafes/
bars


Shinjuku-ku, Kagu-
razaka 6-77-1. [Just
off the corner of
Kagurazaka-dori and
Okubo-dori, near
Ushigome-Kagurazaka
station (Oedo-sen)
and Kagurazaka sta-
tion (Tozai-sen),
and a pleasant 8-
minute stroll from
JR Iidabashi]
Open 5-11pm (LO)
daily.
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