Tokyo Restaurants - May 2012 Part 1
Just back from a week long biz trip in Tokyo. I tried the following
This famous unagi restaurant is located in a residential area, off the beaten track. I heard there is always a long queue during the busy hrs, so I went there on a Sunday at around 4pm. There were 10 people waiting but we were ushered in after a 10 mins wait. There were no chairs, space is very limited. Having to eat with cramped feet is not particularly pleasurable.
I ordered the usual unagi rice and shirayaki (grilled without sauce). As the eel is freshly prepared, it took a good 30 mins before the dishes arrive. Meanwhile, we ordered the unagi omlette. Mediocre, I would say, the egg being overdone. The texture of the eel was fluffy, flavour was intense. The only weakness, for me, lies in the sauce. It was a bit bland (perhaps not to overwhelm the unagi). The price comes at 8000Yen per person. Rather expensive for a unagi restaurant I would say.
The chef of this Tempura restaurant in Tsukiji trained at the legendary Raku-tei. The restaurant's decore epitomises Japanese simplicity, a single flower adorns the entire restaurant. The restaurant has the unusual distinction of providing diners with a bilingual menu. As is usual, the meal started with two kuruma ebi (shrimps). I was not too impressed as I prefer a crisper batter. Also, there was no tempura shrimp legs to go with the shrimps and left me feeling amiss. The highlight of the meal came later in the meal. One of the highlights was the inngen mame (incorrectly translated as the kidney bean at the menu), tempura green bean. The freshness of the bean went hand in hand with the crisp batter. It was divine. The kisu (white fish) tempura was excellent. The next highlight was the tempura eggplant. I have always found tempura eggplant unappetizingly greasy. However, there was not a trace of oil and the tempura sauce went well with the eggplant. Next came the Tempura Abalone. It was a tour de force. The batter, the execution, the generous portions, all impeccable.
The meal started off with a selection of appetizers. As is usual, the fish were all fresh and seasonal. Of all the appetizers, the selection of uni was particularly impressive. Three 'types' of uni were served, each from a different region of Japan. The flavour of the uni from Kyusu was most creamy and intense. Another appetiser that went well with sake was the dried sea cucumber ovaries. The nigiri was of consistently high quality. The (i) kasugo (ii) minced chu-toro (iii) skin of Kinmedai sushi were of particular interest. Less satisfying for me was his choice of shell fish.