My priority was always to discover the traditional kaiseki restaurants before anything creative, which is why it took some time for me to visit this restaurant. Although the restaurant is described as “creative cuisine,” I think “modern and playful Japanese cuisine” is more appropriate. Actually, the words on Den’s website from Zaiyu Hasegawa say it best: “Homemade food is food prepared while thinking about others being happy.”
Den serves delicious, fun and unpretentious quality food. Den is extraordinary. But it is more powerful than that. It made me wonder: why aren’t all restaurants like this? In a way, Den should be a normal restaurant, it should be how most restaurants are. Simple, delicious, fun, unpretentious and quality food made and delivered from the heart. Marco Pierre White, the youngest at the time to have received three stars, said about Michelin: “One day, I had one thought: that I am being judged by people who have less knowledge than me. So, what is it all worth? Very little.”
We were all amazed not only by the quality of the English service by Emi, Zaiyu-san’s wife, but also by the sincere and welcoming atmosphere. More than the puns, Emi's smile or the Dentucky chicken, I had a feeling I did not expect. Like Ishikawa, the food and hospitality at Den are truly sincere. I can never forget this powerful feeling of sincerity.
Reservations: Den accepts reservations exactly two months before the day of your visit (for example December 14 for a reservation on February 14). They speak excellent English.
The only true voyage of discovery would be not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes.
Kyoaji, Hakone, shodo, home cooking.
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