meat in Tokyo: recommendations?
i've lived in Tokyo for about 1.5 years and love the food here. i don't like seafood (i know, i'm living in the wrong place) and am always up for trying new/unique places to satisfy my carnivore cravings ;). i've been on a yakiniku kick recently and have been loving Jumbo and Kirakutei in Shirokanedai. Any meat recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
also...has anyone been to aragawa (michelin-starred steak place in shinagawa)? comments?
Try Toraji - Korean/Japanese yakiniku. There are several in the central Tokyo area, including 3 or 4 around Ebisu Station. Always packed, my wife and I tried to get into one of the Ebisu area ones last night (without a reservation) and were told that there was a 1 1/2 hour wait. Also GyuKaku is another decent reasonably priced chain, but of the two my pick would be Toraji.
I have been to Toraji a few times and agree it is a very good yakiniku place, especially if you are willing to pay its premium beef. And yes, I have to wait for 30 minutes on the last 2 trips too. And don't forget the beef tongue and kimchi soup (if you are into spicy soup like me).
Another good yakiniku place is Jojoen Yugentei chain, more upscale and more varieties here and opened till really late. On my last trip, I went there at 1am and it was still quite crowded. But personally, I prefer Toraji. http://www.jojoen.co.jp/
If you like Shabu Shabu, a high end one is Seyrna chain that specializes on kobe beef and attracts corporate spenders for entertaining clients, so it is expensive. But the shabu shabu I tried was the best I had in Tokyo. http://www.seryna.co.jp/shop/honten.html
The last one I will recommend is Makoto, a small restaurant that is in a narrow alley in Ninhonbashi. Even taxi driver has difficult time finding it on my visit there. Basically a Japan version of high end steak house. The steak was fantastic. But be warned that there is no English menu and noone spoke English there.
Outside of the steak-shabu-yaki triumvirate, you have hopefully had a chance to sample many other types of carnivorous delectables. Have you tried buta-shabu (pork shabu shabu)? This is something to look out for and is quite popular these days. Unfortunately I don’t have any recs for that. But pork as a regional specialty of Kyushu is well represented in Tokyo. Both Tamoiyanse (http://www.bento.com/rev/1765.html) in Shibuya and Kurobutaya (http://www.bento.com/rev/2230.html) in Ebisu have excellent stewed pork belly and other interesting and tasty dishes (Note: Nice job to Robb S. for hounding these out a few years ago. I enjoyed both of them.) You can also get your fill of chashu and porky soup at branches of “Ramen Jiro”- the honten is in Mita near Keio University and there’s another branch in Meguro, down the hill from the station, near the corner of Meguro and Yamate avenues. There are many tonkotsu ramen recs on this site as well.
For upscale "course" yakitori, try Imaiya (http://www.imaiya.co.jp/) in Ebisu. Although, there are many good yakitori-ya in that neighborhood. For more downscale, classic yakitori environments, try Kushi Waka Maru in Naka-Meguro (串若丸 本店-ttp://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/rstdtl/13003193/). Don't wear nice clothes here unless you want to smell smokey. A place Ive never been but that is getting a lot of coverage on Japanese review sites is Shamomaru (軍鶏丸- http://tokyo.gourmet.livedoor.com/restaurant/info/5147.html). Looks expensive, but food is supposed to be great. They have chicken shabu shabu…. It’s hard to give advice on the internet for yakitori restaurants since the best ones are small and intimate and you just don’t want to blow their cover worldwide…
Another place I’ve never been but heard a lot about, also in Ebisu, is Aritsuki Motsunabe (http://www.arizuki.com/map/ebisu.html). Motsunabe is a Fukuoka specialty and is essentially offal hot pot. It’s really a terrific and healthy meal and much more dynamic than it sounds. “Aburiya Fuudo” (炙家 風土 麻布十番 (アブリヤフウドアザブジュウバン- http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a299302/menu2.htm) in Naka Meguro is another place that does this cuisine and I have been there. Terrific restaurant and fabulous sake and shochu selection. The main branch, which is not a motsu focus, is in Azabu Juban (炙家 風土 中目黒店 (アブリヤフウドナカメグロテン- http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a299303/). Excellent Japanese cuisine and sure to have good meat items.
You may also want to check out meat options in the youshoku category. Here is an absolutely stunning review of Eric Eto’s meal at such a place- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352892.
As expected, there is dedicated meat coverage on the blog scene in Japan. You’re in luck as there is one in English. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…The Meat Club- http://www.phreddie.com/meatclub/meat....
Thanks Silverjay, and good work on that rather meaty post.
I'll just add my own current favorite meat spot, Tetsugen Nikusho (http://www.bento.com/rev/2593.html ). The "Nikusho" roughly translates as "meat locker", and they serve not only unusual meats (frog, horse) but premium, small-farm, heirloom meats from all over Japan. Mostly grilled, but cooked in other styles as well. The menu is large, but unfortunately only in Japanese.