Tucked away in the Japanese alps of Takayama we were given both a convivial and contemplative multi-course dining experience by the owner and his assistant. The shimmering, almost translucent sashimi presented to us was caught from the river just that morning. It's cool flesh was as crisp and clean as the winter landscapes photographed by our host. and on display as we ate. Like the best Japanese we met in our travels, the proprietor's pride in his work was distinctly apparent yet somehow humble, as if his skills were really just a friendly gift for us to enjoy. Every one of his dishes was at worst lovely, and at best sublime. Ending our evening with hearty soba and a glass of barley shochu was such a comforting descent from the heights of pleasure that the Wagyu course provided. That beef melted like God's butter on the pallet; I stood up and swore aloud it was so good. Sakana is a treasure and it is heartening to know that there are people out there plying their trade with such diligence and kindness.
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