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Jul 22, 2007 05:06 PM

Aburiya Kinnosuke any alternatives?

Went to Aburiya Kinnosuke last week after not going for several months. I remembered it as unbelievable, but was disappointed. The fact that the place looks run down is one thing, but I felt that the food and service were not what they used to be. Was it an off night? Any other options?

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  1. I read your review with interest, iwgy, because I was also slightly disappointed with Aburiya Kinnosuke after my back-to-back dinner there last night and lunch, today. These were the first two times I've been, so I don't have a real metric for comparison, of course. But I suppose I did build it up in my head a great deal after reading all the glowing reviews.

    It's entirely possible that I did not order well. I'd love to hear what you ordered during your July visit and prior.

    The food that I had was basically simple comfort food, great for a rainy night in, but not particularly memorable. Most were dishes that I might make for myself at home. For dinner, I had the vegetable and beef hot pot (which comes to your table pre-cooked), tsukune (plain), grilled pork cheek, grilled wagyu beef tips, rice ball with baby sardines, and grapefruit sour cocktail. For lunch, I had the set menu with anago over rice, served with salad, miso soup, pickles, and yamaimo.

    The best item was the grapefruit sour, served with a half grapefruit that you get to juice at the table yourself in real Japanese style. (I love doing this! :) The second best were the hot pot (well flavored and made with carrots and potato) and the tsukune (cut into sixths and scraped off the paddle it was cooked on, at the table. I really like the crisp outer skin everything develops in the grill, and it was great with the squeeze of lemon served with it. Wagyu -- in part because of the cut -- was tough, with the fat not all that well incorporated into the meat. But it was served with lovely condiments: real, fresh-grated wasabi (mmm!), onion brown sauce, and sea salt. The rice at lunch was also very good.

    It is a nice place to dine. I like the atmosphere very much and from what I've had, the food is certainly competent. But I am surprised that there is so much of a scramble to get in, here. I'd like to come once more to try more of the grilled items. If you have any recommendations, I'd appreciate them! (Also, advice on how many items one has to order to get a grill at your table would be great, as well.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      Hi cimui,

      This is a recent note that I posted to another thread. It might explain a bit on your experience:

      Hi TDLOA,

      I actually have never had lunch at AK as it is not close to where I work or live, and I tend to linger for awhile whenever I am there which is not something I usually do during lunch. But I believe most of the daily specials are only saved for dinners. Their fish is definitely better than their meat IMO, and sashimi is actually of great quality considered that it is just an izakaya. I think the fish quality there is better than most izakayas around. Beef, on the other hand, is often overcooked and not especially great in quality anyway, so I tend not to order.

      I usually order off from the daily special menu, like suzuki kama yaki or hamachi kama yaki, seasonal vegetables from robata grill (they have gyutan too but it was just ok). On their regular menu I will order the shishamo and anything fishy to go with my beer :D. Sometimes I will order buta no kakuni if I am really hungry. However, to round off the meal, I almost always order the donabe gohan w mentaiko or when in season kinoko or matsutake - that's what make me really happy every time. I usually order it right at the beginning because it takes time to cook and I had a few times that they ran out of donabe (not the rice but the actually pot) ^_^"

      While anago is probably one of my favorite things in the world, ironically AK's version is awful. Do not bother to order.
      Also, their tamago dishes can be very variable depending on the nights.

      Overall, the food there is comforting and similiar, albeit less experimental or creative compared to Kyo Ya. I enjoy the food at AK, and more important, the overall experience and atmosphere, which is why I keep going back.

      1. re: kobetobiko

        Hmm, yes, that does explain a lot. I seem to've taken the wrong approach altogether, huh? Wish I'd found your thread, earlier.

        I do passionately love shishamo (ideally grilled and fresh) so it's on my short list to try for next time.