Isojima was first suggested to us by the awesome and gracious Chef Mitsudome Hideto of Uohide Zen in Kichijoji, Tokyo (another AMAZING dining experience!) for our trip to Aomori to view cherry blossoms. Although primarily japanese-speaking, the staff made me feel like a king; they gave us a warm and enthusiastic welcome and gave us the kind of service that was not stuffy or formal, but more like that you get at grandma's house! Loved it.
The food. Yes, this was definitely one of my favorite meals ever. As my japanese is comically bad, I just said "omakase" and sat back. The seafood was selected based on what was seasonal and fresh! For example, the mantis shrimp was not only large and succulent, but it was full of that flavorful, coveted roe! The tempura included seasonal flower buds of some sort. Very interesting. The highlight for me was the odori ebi, or "dancing shrimp". Quite shocking for a gaijin like me;)
I felt that the chefs here really respected their ingredients and did not go for the flashy preparations and presentations that you'd find at other restaurants. They were almost traditional, and that's not a bad thing!
We left more than satisfied. The chef gave us a warm goodbye and even followed us out to make sure we had umbrellas and a way home! He defintely gave us a lasting impression, and we will definitely be back during hanami 2016!
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