We’ve done a review of Pizza Strada in Tokyo and now we’re back with a review of the Seirinkan which most people might know from David Chang’s Ugly Delicious. There was a lot of hype surrounding Seirinkan – we saw it pop up all over friends’ Instagram and having been to two pizza places in Japan already, we decided we had to go and try a third place out to compare. So in our last hours of our Japan trip (we rushed to the airport right after dinner), we went to the fabled Seirinkan.
THE RESTAURANT & MENU
The restaurant opens at 5pm on Sundays and we arrived at 4:45pm. We didn’t have reservations and didn’t know if we would be able to get in. Thankfully, there was no one else there and at 4:55pm a staff member poked his head out and invited us in. We were asked if we had reservations and when we said we didn’t, the staff told us we would only have an hour in the restaurant. We agreed and were told to go all the way up to the third floor even though we were the only ones there.
Their menu offers two pizzas only and then some pasta and salads. We agreed that if David Chang came here for the pizza and not anything else then we should do the same. There’s only two pizzas on the menu: Margherita and Marinara. In reading some reviews, we’ve seen people successfully order an off the menu pizza (Bianco) but when we asked about that, the server said that wasn’t an option. After taking our orders, our server let us know our hour to stay in the restaurant started then. At some point between this and paying our bill, we would be reminded again that we only had an hour in the restaurant.
The Margherita pizza arrived first. It has basil, tomato and mozzarella on it. I personally thought it was a bit too salty but H disagreed with me. He pointed out that you can taste the salt that the chef throws on the pizza.
If you look at the picture, you can see that the crust is fairly thick and puffy. If you compare this to the pictures from Pizza Strada, you can see that it’s thicker in comparison to their crust. We definitely could taste the difference too. While this crust had a nice crunch to it, it was too big of a mouthful of bread. We also loved how airy the crust at Pizza Strada was and we didn’t feel that this crust reached the same level of lightness.
In our eagerness to dine here, we actually ordered two Marinara pizzas. The server had let us know that one pizza per person was the norm but Howie was hungry and we thought that the pizza here would be even better than at Pizza Strada’s so we took the chance. The first pizza arrived soon after we finished the Margherita.
Howie loved that you could taste the freshness of the ingredients like in the San Marzano tomatoes they used. I’m a garlic lover myself but I could barely taste the garlic they used here. There was a nice texture to the crust but because we took our time eating this pizza, by the time we were on our last slices the centre had become soggy. We think it’s because they used too much olive oil and sauce on the pizzas. This was the same issue with the second Marinara that arrived about 5 minutes after we finished the first one.
We arrived at 4:50pm and we were leaving by 5:30pm. We felt that there wasn’t a good level of service. It seemed like the servers just wanted customers to get in and get out. The constant reminders of our time limit didn’t sit well with us and we just felt rushed. We wondered if the restaurant staff were sick of the popularity from the show and didn’t care about service anymore. If you’re wondering if you want to experience Seirinkan so you can say you went, we say go for it but we feel that Pizza Strada was a much better restaurant for food and service.