Let’s start this year with some nostalgia as I travel back to my first experience of Michelin star restaurant. The year was 2014 in Sapporo, Japan. I just remembered that Tananbe was awarded 3-star Michelin in 2012 and it was at a peak of hype period. So my thought at that moment was why don’t I try out the highest recommendation from Michelin to see how amazing the experience it would be.
I remember hearing such stories as proper dress code and a bunch of regulations for reservation of Michelin starred restaurant around the world. In case of Tanabe I remember about a request to refrain from strong fragrance like perfume, because they would like guest to enjoy characteristic sushi and the aroma of the cuisine also not disturbing other guest.
Starting from appetizer, Hokkai-shima-ebi “北海縞海老”, it is caught in only Hokkaido. And natural Hokkaido scallop, and one kind of sea weed named Junsai “蓴菜”. Junsai is caught in the clean lake, it is summer seasonal food. Such a refreshing and light to kick start my appetite.
Sashimi : Flatfish [ Hirame ] Fluffy texture with light flavored as such a perfect way to start Sashimi section to reflect a pure flavor.
Octopus [ Tako ] with Japanese vinegar sauce. First of all, forget all chewy Tako in all your life that makes you uncertain whether you are chewing a Tako or a gum. Extremely fresh Tako are just soft and enjoyable. Combining with perfectly balance savory vinegar jelly sauce to crank up my appetite.
Offspring Tuna [ Mejimaguro ] that is special one in only summer season. Majority of cured Tuna are called “Akami” and usually it comes with a strong texture and flavor. Mejimaguro are a lighter version which I found relatively easy to try out for a first timer.
Toasted small sardine [ Tatami-Iwashi ] Apart from eccentric shaped plate, this plate provide a crunchy and yummy treat.
Oyster [ Kaki ] My first impression was that oyster are just grilled to a mouthwatering degree contrasting grilled part yet retaining juicy part inside. Providing strong flavor and soft texture together.
Steamed egg [ Chawan-Mushi ] What I love about Japanese Steamed egg are how bouncy texture and comfort menu appear. Very lightly seasoned with a surprise of hidden sweet and tender crab meat inside.
Tuna [ Maguro/Akami ] Akami means lean part hence resulted in red color. Akami are cured within Shoyu for more balanced taste. Apart from beautifully presentation, this Akami taste are just right with a tender texture.
Shrimp [ Ebi ] Introducing the best shrimp I have ever had in my life up until now. This one changed my perspective that boiled shrimp must be better than raw shrimp. The texture are just divine with an insane amount of sweetness and a bit contrast of fresh Wasabi on top.
Squid [ Ika ] To be honest I have my reservation about chewiness of this squid compared to my past experience. In contrast, it came out as a lot better than expected.
Horse mackerel [ Aji ] also means flavor in Japanese. That is why this Sushi is packed with such intense flavor in a satisfying texture.
Salmon [ Shake ] that is the seasonal one named “Tokishirazu”. Tokishirazu also refers to “Chum Salmon” which are caught within spring to the beginning of summer. Tokishirazu came with a high fat content yet firm texture compared to average Salmon.
Surf clam [ Hokki ] If you ever experienced a Hokki and felt a bit chewier than your preference. This one is much more different than that. The texture are located in a reasonably chewing experience.
Abalone [ Awabi ] with liver sauce. Awabi are quite a tricky experience for handling and properly cooking. Removal of algae and perfecting cooking temperature are quite a challenging task. This one came out a enjoyable texture, fragrant and the sauce are not too overwhelming.
Sea urchin [ Uni ] Generous portion and a light color seems like a promising bite. I would say the flavor are more on creamy light and tender area.
Salmon roe [ Ikura ] Probably my first experience on generous portion of Ikura and it was just as amazing as I expected. Ikura were cured to a balanced flavor.
Conger Eel [ Anago ] Anago are a more fluffy texture compared to Unagi. I understand that keeping tiny fish bone are somewhat charm for eel dishes in Japan so keep that in your mind.
Japanese Rolled Omelette (Tamagoyaki) I would say this Sushi resides in a sweet area rather than savory. Egg texture are delicate as a gateway to dessert.
Creme Brulee was made with Japanese special sugar “wasanbon（和三盆）”. Wasanbon is a fine-grained Japanese sugar, traditionally made in the Shikoku prefectures of Tokushima and Kagawa. The sugar is often used for Japanese sweets (Wagashi). I did finished Creme Brulee in an instant. Delicate texture and balanced sweetness.
Ending this spectacular experience with a pineapple Sherbet. It was good to try out pineapple dessert that was not extremely sour with an enjoyable texture. I would say Tanabe price are reasonable at their decided price. Staff are extremely friendly and helps provide such an insightful information regarding ingredients and cooking method.