Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kushiwakamaru in Naka-Meguro, Tokyo


I can't remember how I found out about this cozy smoky yakitori place, but it was on our way home tonight and still open late(1-19-2 Kamimeguro, 03-3715-9292). We popped our heads in and fortunately got seated right away. The cuts of meat were larger than I was expecting, but nonetheless still tasty with a wide variety of available. Highlights included grilled anago with a potent dab of fresh wasabi on top, as well as natto kushiyaki. Yes, it made us wonder one would put natto on a stick and grill it: it turned out to be chicken breast with natto spread on top. That worked for me.

Kamukura Dining: Soup With Noodles in Tokyo

Oishi ramen with sliced roast pork (small size) and soft-boiled seasoned egg

Here's another place that came up in conversation last night. And they conveniently had an outlet at Ebisu station where we were transiting this afternoon.

The shouyu broth was pretty good, especially with its complex onion-laced depth yet still being clear and crisp. But I was disappointed in the pork, which wasn't fatty enough. And the cabbage was a distraction too; it would've been better had they grilled or sautéed it in advance.

There were an array of condiments available, including negi, minced raw garlic, and chili paste, but I still couldn't get it to a point where I liked it. Oh well.

AFURI in Ebisu, Tokyo

Yuzu Shoyu Ramen

Somewhere during the course of conversation tonight, this shop came up. The original store's location (1-1-7 Ebisu, 03-5795-0750) was just a few minutes walk from the bar that we were at, and fortunately they were open until 5 AM. It was thus a no-brainer on where to go next.

They specialized in that yuzu ramen above, and I liked it much better than the one from Oreryu earlier today, as the yuzu taste was much more pronounced here. They didn't just put a few slices of rind on top like a topping; the whole broth had a citrusy taste to it, and I loved it. The aroma from that charcoal grilled slice of pork was a great touch, as were the thicker temomi men noodles that I upgraded to.

I would happily eat here again, although I need to remember to ask for the maroaji option of extra chicken oil rather than the normal tanrei option that I had today. I think I saw a sign for a basil and ume bowl that might be worth a try too.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Teyandei in Nishiazabu, Tokyo

Caesar Salad

This was a cute and cozy little izakaya in a very quiet neighborhood not far from Roppongi (2-2-20-1 Nishiazabu, 03-3407-8127). It's too bad then that I liked the venue more than I liked the food. To be sure, nothing was of bad quality; after all, what's not to like about some juicy grilled fat-attached Iberian pork, or their take on Sichuan kou shui ji using tender (and boneless) Jidori chicken? But I prefer a more traditional approach to food, and that Caesar salad with sliced octopus above wasn't anything that got me excited. Maybe it would've been more fun had we sat downstairs at the counter watching the action in the kitchen.

Yuzu Shio Ramen From Shibuya's Oreryu

Yuzu Shio Ramen

Given that we didn't really have a proper breakfast or lunch today, we went to go get a bite to eat. I was hoping for something soupy, and an outlet of this small local chain was in front of us, serving some kind of yuzu ramen. That crisp clear broth is exactly what I needed; I nearly drank all of the soup before even getting to the rest of the items. Either way, it eventually all went into my belly with ease, especially with some of that spicy black pepper sprinkled on it.

A Gyudon From Tokyo Dome's Concession Stands


I used to be able to say with a relative degree of confidence that I've never had a bad meal in Japan. That changed with that gyudon above. It was gross. The rice was mushy and the beef wasn't very exciting either. Granted, it was at a baseball stadium, but I still would've expected something just a little better.

Menya Akanoren in Roppongi, Tokyo


After a night out on the town, I needed some food. My friend pointed to this tonkotsu place (Nishiazabu 3−21-24, 03-3408-4775), saying that it was good and still open during the wee hours of the night. The menu had quite a few items on it, but they recommended the simply named "ramen," and it was exactly that salty rich bowl of soup and carbs that I was looking to shove into my belly before going home.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Roppongi Taira in Tokyo, Japan

Grilled fish

High-end sushi restaurants in Tokyo can be difficult to secure a reservation at unless you do it far in advance. On short notice though, my local friend got us a few seats at this place, and it was fantastic (6-2-35 Roppongi 662 building 8F, +81-3-6406-8501). Everything was of extremely high quality; perhaps the most mind-blowing item we got was a steamed abalone with a liver dip that was deliciously rich and savory. Other highlights included blowfish milt, grilled baby squid, a yuzu gratin, as well as progressive courses of different types of shrimp and tuna. Even the ginger was impressive, as it actually tasted like ginger rather than that sweet pickling juice. The staff was friendly and engaging too. Yes, I liked this place better than Mizutani.

An Outlet of Katsu Midori in Tokyo, Japan

Fish eggs

Sushi was requested for lunch today, so we went to the hotel concierge to ask them for a recommendation, and she suggested this kaiten sushi place. Conveyor belts weren't exactly what we had in mind, but she insisted that this place was good, as this chain was apparently run by another sushi place that presumably is rather high-end.

Anyway, it was indeed of good quality, including some delicious scallops and a seared threadfin or something (that thing above is a cluster of fish roe). And the prices were impressively low too; much cheaper than Ikeikemaru and of much better quality. The only thing I was disappointed in was the tasteless melon, but I suppose I can't expect anything high-end when it was only 300 Yen (US$2.60) a slice.

Matsuya's Standard Morning Set Meal

Matsuya's Standard Morning Set Meal

For breakfast, I popped into an outlet of Matsuya. The first thing on the ticketing machine was this "Standard Morning Set," which came with your choice of protein like beef, natto, etc. I assembled my beef bowl, leveraging the array of condiments on the counter too. But I was still hungry afterwards and wished I had gone for the large option instead.

Negi Negi in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

So this is the restaurant that we were really going for tonight (2-16-7 Honmachi, 03-6300-4863). As the name suggests, they specialize in leeks and spring onions. Basically every dish that they had here had some form of green onions in it, including dessert and alcohol too. We got a lot of different varieties, including grilled leeks, pickled leeks, leeks on top of karaage, leeks on top of pizza, natto with green onions, and leeks in a bubbling hot pan of oil (I don't think they had any with romesco sauce though). After a while, it was almost *too* much onion without enough body. That's when that bowl above came in, with that lovely egg yolk and spring onions all coming together nicely with those pearly beads of rice. And yes, now my breath really stinks.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Another Yakitori Alley on Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku

Grilling Yakitori

We weren't planning on eating here. But there was another yakitori alley near Shinjuku station that we passed by, and the smell of chicken fat grilling on a fire was mouthwatering. So we just had to stop in for a quick snack. We had no idea which shop was good, so we randomly picked one that had a couple of seats available. Basically everything was on the counter for you to choose from, and they grilled away. And yeah, it did the job (especially the very tender negima). None of it was anything mind-blowing, but it was a fun small yakitori snack.