Shonai, a culinary capital blessed with a rich bounty of natural resources in mountains and sea, has a long history of a local sustainable food system cherished by local farmers who know how to grow and preserve indigenous varieties of vegetables (also known as heirloom vegetables) unique to Shonai and local chefs who know how to create a symphony of taste with them.
Nico has two missions. The first one is to hand down a half-a-century-old tradition of Sakata French cuisine to the future generation; and the second one is to experiment something new to discover the further potential of Sakata French cuisine.
Locally grown heirloom vegetables unique to Shonai and those imported to Japan in the early modern period that have become part of local produce, various kinds of herbs, local sea salt, fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan, Yamagata beef, and Shonai pork—we use the local ingredients of Shonai to make dishes unique to Shonai. Collaboration of the tradition handed down from our ancestors to us and new techniques creates dishes unique to this time.
Taste is our primary focus; but we do not want to forget the elements of surprise, fun, and warmth. Local produce and seafood in local markets change every day. We choose the best local ingredients on the day to prepare the best dish. Each plate is a unique opportunity for us to express our respect to local ingredients that we encounter on that day. We treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.
May your table be filled with nico (smiles in Japanese).