Innovative, serious, and very well-established, Wakuriya successfully combines a deep respect for kaiseki tradition with a contemporary touch. This is largely thanks to the lone chef behind the counter, Katsuhiro Yamasaki; his wife is the one so deftly managing and serving the dining room. The location is charmless, but there is a sober elegance here that is enhanced by the kitchen’s quiet confidence. The room books a month in advance—set your alarm for midnight, phone them exactly 30 days ahead, and pray for a callback. Each month brings a new, refined menu that combines the chef’s personal style with superlative Japanese and Californian ingredients. Course after course arrives uniquely presented, perhaps on handcrafted ceramics or even a silver spoon, cradling chunks of poached lobster with intensely smoky dashi gelée, soft-boiled Jidori egg, crisp asparagus and fried kombu. This may not be a sushi-ya, but the sashimi course is nonetheless excellent. Find that same level of talent in the yamaimo gratin with silky morsels of black cod and tender Brussels sprouts that are crisp, yet light as air and so delicious. The shirako tofu topped with Kabocha pumpkin tempura is beyond luxurious.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors