Looking for a good FUGU restaurant in Tokyo / Osaka
Hello everybody, How are you all?
My name is Dan Hayon, I am 41 years old and I live in Israel.
I am flying to Japan on March 29th 2010 and will be staying in this amazing country for 15 days, touring around.
I would really like to taste FUGU and am looking for a good and reliable FUGU restaurant. By reliable I mean that when the dish you want to eat can, possibly, kill you you do want a reliable chef preparing it for you.
I will be staying 4 nights in Tokyo and 2 nights in Osaka and in between I shall be touring around Matsumoto, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Meiji and other interesting places in Japan. The hotel in Tokyo is in Asakusa.
I will appreciate any information from you that will help fulfill my wish of tasting Fugu.
Thank you in advance
Tsukiji Yamamoto is a highly regarded fugu restaurant in tokyo. Very expensive, though. (40,000 Yen per person)
For that, you get about 10-12 small courses of wild tora-fugu (supposedly the best kind) prepared in different ways. I went there a couple months ago, and we had:
1. transparent beige cubes with fugu skin suspended in them
2. small fugu nigiri
3. white miso soup with fugu
4. vinegared / dried / flaked fugu -- delicious
5. huge plate of fugu sashimi with ponzu sauce and a hot red pepper
6. fugu marinated in whiskey, grilled, and served with sweet miso and scallions
7. fugu sperm sac tempura balls (kind of like mozarella balls... but with fugu sperm)
8. fugu collarbone tempura
9. sake infused with fugu flavor
10. egg crepes with grilled fugu and caviar
11. vegetables simmered with fugu
12. pickled vegetables
13. a couple random cubes of tofu
14. rice porrige with fugu
15. dessert of strawberry, orange, apple, and cream. amazing.
16. adzuki bean mochi and matcha green tea.
This was unquestionably one of the best meals of my life.
Fugu itself is good, but doesn't have a particularly powerful flavor or texture (i would say it is like a cross between squid and sea bream), but the different ways it was prepared and served at this restaurant were extremely interesting and delicious. The decor was also very nice -- it felt like going to a japanese grandmother's house, with lots of beautiful antiques everywhere. The service was very good, and very casual at the same time.
I haven't been to all that many ultra-high-end japanese restaurants (compared to a local, i'm sure), but for comparison sake, i'll rank it among some others i've been to for perspective:
1. Tsukiji Yamamoto (tokyo)
2. Arpege (paris. favorite non-japanese restaurant in the world)
3. Kanda (tokyo)
4. Urasawa (la)
5. Manresa (favorite bay area restaurant. value-wise, my #1 favorite.)
6. Masa (nyc)
7. Tawaraya-Ryokan (kyoto)
8. Kanamean-Ryokan (kyoto)
9. Kikunoi Honten (kyoto)
10. Hiiragiya Ryokan (kyoto)
I probably wouldn't return to any beneath the top #5.
Not sure if you were looking for ultra high-end fugu, but if you were, you wouldn't go wrong to try tsukiji yamamoto. I also suspect you would be very unlikely to die at this restaurant. The chef appeared to be in his 60s, and he is supposedly the 3rd generation chef-owner of the restaurant.
Hello Dustin E. How are you?
Thank you so very much for this AMAZING reply. I printed it and will definitely use it.
You are correct, it looks like a marvelous restaurant but it does cost approx. 40000 Yens (approx. 440 USD) to eat their 12 course menu. Do you know if they have a menu with less dishes that might cost less?
I also saw in two different sites talking about this amazing restaurant that it is closed from April to septembre. I do hope it is not closed from April 1st.
Do you know a regular Fugu restaurant ? Not such and ultra High End pricy one as the Tsukiji Yamamoto.
Thank you again for this unbelievable reply
re: E Eto
Dear E Eto. How are you?
I will be spending one night in Hiroshima. I checked the web you sent me and printed it. I will try and have it in Hiroshima as it is close to the place Fugu is caught - a place called Shimonaseki, if I remember correctly
Thank you very much for your help
I'm not sure where else you're going in Western Japan, but there will probably be more options for you to have your fugu down that way. Here's another post on the topic.
Just realized that the links for the fugu varieties are broken. Here are some others with photos for your reading pleasure.