We opted for nasu (eggplant), tomato and courgette, which were served on ice with umeboshi, miso and Okinawan salt. Although flavourful and cooling, let’s be honest it’s just a pricey plate of cut up vegetables. The sadachi sours we ordered helped everything go down nicely – including my indignation.
The waiter who attended us grew impatient with my endless questions and requests for kanji readings – fair enough, it was peak dining time and the place was filling up fast. So after a few minutes fretfully deciphering the cursive script, I placed our order and hoped for the best.
Our sashimi moriawase was an elegant array of suzuki (sea bass), iwashi (sardine), katsuo tataki (seared bonito), nama tako (fresh octopus) and tashiuo (great sword fish). The only let down of the evening was that the special of oma maguro (line caught adolescent tuna from the Tsugaru Channel) was not included in the dish.
We were advised to eat the white fish with a squeeze of sadachi and Okinawan salt in order to best enjoy the flavour, and we obediently did just that. All were of good quality, and they did not skim on the portions – as is so often the case with posher places.
Nakamura’s sake list has around a dozen well regarded brands on offer and a sake sommolier is on hand to guide you through the selection process. Prices range from ¥1,000 to over ¥1,400, for a daiginjou, per tokkuri; a little expensive, but one can can’t really quibble when the sake comes served in an elegant urushi bowl such as this.
First up, the sommelier’s recommendation of Ishizuchi junmaiginjou (石鎚酒純米吟醸) from Ehime, which had the soft fragrance of rice and a nice clear finish in the mouth. The bottle was not presented to the table (me being a mere female and all), so click here for a visual.
The agejakko (fried whitebait), okahijiki (land seaweed) and silken tofu salad is one of Nakamura’s most popular dishes for good reason; it’s delicious. Even the Kiwi’s, who prefer their protein to come with a wooly coat, scraped their plates clean.
Reminiscing about misspent youths is thirst inducing, so a round of Gorin daiginjou (五凛大吟醸), from Ishikawa, was ordered. It had a fresh, slightly fruity fragrance and a full body, which gave way to a lovely clean finish. Mmmm. By now, the sommelier had realised that one member of our group was a sake otaku (my stack of sake guidebooks must have been the giveaway), and began offering the bottle to the table. Please note; they don’t take too kindly to flashes accidentally being fired – I was soundly admonished by our curmudgeonly waiter for this oversight.
Plans were being hatched for a nijikai in Ebisu, so umeboshi ongiri were ordered along with a round of Senkin junmaigingou (仙禽純米吟醸), from Tochigi. The Senkin was refined and elegant with a gorgeous aroma, kind of like cassis… or at least that’s what I managed to glean from my increasingly illegible notes. I have no memory of the onigiri.
Nakamura is definitely a shop to keep in mind when an occasion calls for food and surroundings that are a little more refined that your usual izakaya joint. Overall, the food was fantastic and the service, while at times brisk, was professional and attentive. Sadly, my ordering did not do the thoughtful and comprehensive menu justice, so a return visit is most certainly on the cards.