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Went to Kamakura for lunch a few weeks ago, and wanted to write about it for folks who might be interested in what I ordered in particular. The dinner kaiseki's been written about more already, but not as much the lunch. Had the shojin bento -- vegetarian. The miso soup was warm and pleasant, but not amazing. The bento itself was amazing though! Simple-seeming food, but somehow tasted way better than anywhere else I've had. Umami rice was seemingly plain rice with a few mushrooms on top, but the rice was perfectly cooked, and I could've had just that rice. Pickled daikon and seaweed were perfect -- flavorful and delicate at the same time. More mushrooms, probably cooked in soy sauce and mirin, were delicious, and somehow much better than when I or anyone else makes this familiar dish. Broccoli rabe tempura was perfectly fried, and had a delicious (though thick, unlike the more common tempura sauce), sesame sauce. The lightly seasoned tofu was refreshing.
I also ordered wagashi and whisked matcha. (You have a choice between whisked or something like an aeropress.) The matcha was watery and not hot or foamy. Perhaps they need pointers on making matcha? The mizuyokan (red bean jelly) was normal for mizuyokan, very light in taste. I almost wished there was more of the kinako on the plate to go with it; I could barely taste the kinako even though I purposely tried to scrape it up. The agar candies were pleasant. I hoped for more impressive wagashi; maybe now that it's colder weather and they're serving white bean paste sweets (which are very hard to buy in Boston; Gen Sou En had them on weekends sometimes, but that might be all), I'll have closer to the matcha experience that I was hoping for.
Service on the first floor was very pleasant. The kaiseki counter was more like just a bar at lunch, with single diners. The hostess was lovely. The waiters were very nice, though busy with big business lunches.
I'll gladly go back for this lunch box; it was one of those rare times where relatively simple food is amazing. I hope they last!
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