Posted by Tokyo Joe on 31.2011 Izakaya & Nabe 0 comments 0 trackback
My last post of the year is a down to earth cheap and great stand up izakaya in the middle of Ginza. This is where the recent HIGHBALL (Scotch whiskey and soda with lemon twist) boom started and one of my favorite places to grab a quick drink or bite before going to dinner nearby. That izakaya is TACHINOMI MARUGIN at Ginza better known as just MARUGIN.

立呑みマルギンinside 1
You can start out with a beer like most Japanese do, but its almost a must to have a Highball.

立呑みマルギンgyukushi garlic 280
Every dish is cheap and easy for your wallet. Here are some examples......GYUKUSHI GARLIC (Broiled beef with fried garlic chips) for 280 yen per skew,

立呑みマルギンgyukushi oroshi 280
GYUKUSHI OROSHI (Broiled beef with grated Japanese radish) for 280 yen per skew,

立呑みマルギン 極上レバー100円
GOKUJYO LIVER (Broiled prime chicken liver) for 100 yen per skew,

立呑みマルギン 半熟うずら串 160円
HANKYU UZURA KUSHI (Broiled soft boiled quail eggs) for 160 yen per skew,

立呑みマルギン 左=砂肝(160円)×2。右=はつ(160円
SUNAGIMO (Broiled chicken gizzard) and HATSU (Broiled chicken heart) each for 160 yen per skew,

立呑みマルギン gekikara choriso 200
GEKIKARA CHORIZO (Broiled extra spicy chorizo sausage) for 200 yen per skew,

立呑みマルギン ポテサラ・紙カツ
POTESALA (Potato salad) for 380 yen and KAMIKATSU (Deep fried thinly sliced pork) for 190 yen per piece,

立呑みマルギン マカロニサラダ
MACARONI SALAD for 380 yen,

立呑みマルギン キャベツコンビーフ
KYABETSU CORN BEEF ( Stir fried cabbage and corned beef) for 380 yen,

立呑みマルギン 牛蒡揚げ
GOBOH NO KARAAGE (Deep fried burdock) for 280 yen,

立呑みマルギン 冷奴 280円
and HIYAYAKO (Cold tofu) for 280 yen.

The interior or concept of this place is bringing you back to the Showa period. (1950-70's), the good old days of Japan before becoming fully modernized like now. As you can tell most of the dishes are between 160-380 yen. There are some rice & noodles dishes over 380 yen, but they are also less then 680 yen. It doesn't get much cheaper and better in Ginza so if you just want to have a drink or light bite before you go out or need a drink before returning to your hotel or even having an easy dinner do consider Marugin.


TACHINOMI MARUGIN (in Japanese, 立呑みマルギン)
Address: 3-41-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区銀座7-1 銀座コリドー通り105)
Nearest train station: JR Yurakucho or Tokyo Metro Ginza (3 min walk)
Tel: 03-3571-8989
Reservations: Yes
Website: None
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: 5pm-6am
Closed: Sunday

Prices: Yakitori 100-160 yen per stick
Buta No Kushiyaki (Grilled pork on stick) 180 yen per stick
Gyu No Kushiyaki (Grilled beef on stick) 280 yen per stick
Other Kushiyaki 180-280 yen
Fried Dishes 120-380 yen
Other Dishes 280-680 yen
Drinks 390-550 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 28.2011 Daily Local Food & Others 2 comments 0 trackback
ぶち旨屋 outside
Japanese pizza or pancake is probably the easiest way to explain what Okonomiyaki is. There are mainly two types, Kansai (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto area) or Hiroshima-style. Kansai-style is a mix of flour, cabbage, egg, meats or seafood and looks like a thick pancake. Hiroshima-style has soba (egg noodles) & shredded cabbage in between a thin layer of crepe. There are only a handful of okonomiyaki restaurants in Tokyo as good as the one's in Kansai or Hiroshima, and BUCHIUMAYA at Shinjuku is one of few good Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurants.

ぶち旨屋 inside
Okonomiyaki is cooked on a teppan (large iron plate) right in front of you. Crape will be made by using okonomiyaki batter first and right next to it soba will be cooked. Once the soba is ready then it will go on top of the crape. Shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, 2-3 slices of pork belly, and ikaten (dry squid tempura) will be added on top. Next okonomiyaki batter will be on top of this. They will flip the okonomiyaki a couple of times so it will cook evenly and then pressed by covering it with a round iron presser.

ぶち旨屋 肉玉そば
When its ready to serve, okonomiyaki sauce (sweet dark sauce made out of fruits, vegetables and meats) and aonori (green laver) will be added. The most popular okonomiyaki is Nikutama (Plain okonomiyaki) for 850 yen.

ぶち旨屋 肉玉そば 2
Instead of using chopsticks to eat it, you use a KOTE (iron spatula).

ぶち旨屋 ネギかけ肉玉そば(イカ天入り) 1,100円 プラス 半熟双子月見のせ100円
My favorite is NEGI KAKE TSUKIMI NIKUTAM (Okonomiyaki with green onions & fried egg) for 1,200 yen. Egg's used all have two egg yolks in one egg.

ぶち旨屋 肉玉そばネギトッピング
If you don't want a fried egg, but like green onions then try NEGI KAKE NIKUTAMAi (Okonomiyaki with green onions) for 1,150 yen.

ぶち旨屋 もちチーズ肉玉うどん
They also have original okonomiyaki's like MOCHI CHEESE NIKUTAMA (Okonomiyaki with cheese & sticky rice cake) for 1,350 yen. You can also choose either soba or udon (white thick noodles) for noodles inside your okonomiyaki, but soba is more common and popular. The above Mochi Cheese Nikutama has udon in it.

ぶち旨屋 あぶりイカ天
They also have various side dishes like ABURI IKATEN (Grilled dry squid tempura) for 600 yen,

ぶち旨屋 鶏肉の鉄板焼き

ぶち旨屋 トンペイ焼き
TOPPEIYAKI YUZUPONZU AJI (Pork, green onions, egg omelet cooked on teppan with yuzuponzu sauce) for 600 yen,

ぶち旨屋 イカ焼き
and SURUMEIKA NO BUTTER SHOYU YAKI (Grilled squid with butter and soy sauce) for 700 yen.

ぶち旨屋 inside 1
Buchiumaya use to be open for lunch, but since they have become so popular the owner/chef was over worked and they are only open for dinner now. If you wanna try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki in Shinjuku, Buchiumaya is probably the best place to go and even my friends from Hiroshima all agree with me.

ぶち旨屋 outside 2

BUCHIUMAYA (in Japanese, ぶち旨屋)
Address: 7-22-34, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都新宿区西新宿7-22-34)
Nearest train station: JR, Tokyo Metro, or Toei Subway Shinjuku (10 min walk)
Tel: 03-3364-0807
Reservations: No
Website: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a836200/lang/en/
English menu: No
Credit Card: No
Open: 5:30pm-10:30pm (closes earlier when soldout)
Closed: Sunday & Holiday

Prices: Nikutama (Plain okonomiyaki) 850 yen
Hanjuku Futago Tsukimi Nikutama (Okonomiyaki with fried egg) 950 yen
Negi Kake Nikutama (Okonomiyaki with green onions) 1,150 yen
Negi Kake Tsukimi Nikutama (Okonomiyaki with green onions & fried egg) 1,200 yen
Cheese Nikutama (Okonomiyaki with cheese) 1,100 yen
Mochi Nikutama (Okonomiyaki with sticy rice cake) 1,100 yen
Mochi Cheese Nikutama (Okonomiyaki with cheese & sticky rice cake) 1,350 yen
Tonpeiyaki Yuzuponzu Aji (Pork, green onions, egg omelet cooked on teppan with yuzuponzu sauce) 600 yen
Surumeika No Butter Shoyu Yaki (Grilled squid with butter and soy sauce) 700 yen
Aburi Ikaten (Grilled dry squid tempura) 600 yen
Other dishes 300-750 yen

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RAKUTEI (Akasaka)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 25.2011 Tempura & Tonkatsu 2 comments 0 trackback
楽亭 outside
Have you ever walked into a restaurant where everything was simple, but in harmony. Food, chef, service, interior and the air/atmosphere. I was only 11 yrs old when my grandfather took my mother and I here and 35 yrs later I feel the same harmony that I did when I was 11. One of the top tempura restaurants in Japan is RAKUTEI at Akasaka.

楽亭 menu
They only provide a course menu for either 10,500 yen or 12,600 yen. The difference is 12,600 yen comes with 2 extra prawns and 1 extra seafood.

楽亭 エビ
It may not be in this order, but from the sea EBI (Prawn),

楽亭 あなご
ANAGO (Sea eel),

楽亭 イカ
IKA (Squid),

楽亭 メゴチ
MEGOCHI (Big-eyed flathead fish),

楽亭 キス
KISU (Sand borer) will usually be served.

楽亭 ナス
And vegetables depend on whats in season, but NASU (Eggplant)

楽亭 松茸
and during the fall, MATSUTAKE (Matsutake mushroom) is my favorite.

楽亭 かき揚げ丼
Last you get to choose either TENDON (Tempura over rice),

楽亭 天茶
or TENCHA (Tempura & hot green tea over rice) to finish your meal.

楽亭 inside
Their tempura is very light, covered by a thin layer of batter compared to other tempura restaurants. Unless you ask the chef, he won't tell you what he is serving you, but if you ask him, he will answer back very politely, a true master of his profession and at least 80 years old. Some people say that their service is not up to standards of the other top restaurants in Tokyo and actually this maybe true, if you are looking for service like a top Kaiseki or French restaurant. But in my opinion, they try not to over service customers to keep everything in harmony, which is refreshing. And the least I can say is that Rakutei's tempura will go par or better with any tempura restaurant in Japan. Although I don't trust any of the Michelin guides of Japan, they have been awarded 2 stars ever since Michelin Guide Tokyo was first published in 2007.

楽亭 set

RAKUTEI (in Japanese, 楽亭)
Address: 6-8-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都港区赤坂6-8-1)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Akasaka (5 min walk)
Tel: 03-3585-3743
Reservations: Yes (must)
Website: None
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: Tuesday-Sunday 12pm-2pm, 5pm-8:30pm
Closed: Tuesday

Prices: Course menu for 10,500 yen and 12,600 yen only
Difference is 12,600 yen comes with 2 extra prawns and 1 extra seafood

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TORITAMA (Shirogane)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 22.2011 Yakitori, Yakiton & Kushiage 2 comments 0 trackback
酉玉 outside
I personally like Yakiton more than Yakitori since I like pork more than chicken, but there are several Yakitori restaurants which I love and one of them is TORITAMA at Shirogane. Toritama isn't your ordinary Yakitori restaurant. Why? Because the parts of chicken they serve is different from others.

酉玉 inside
A normal Yakitori restaurant will only serve breast, thigh, wings, gizzard, liver and a few other parts, but Toritama serves parts you never heard of unless you are a yakitori freak. They have 3 course menus to choose from and difference is the number of skews. 7, 10, or 12. And if this isn't enough for you, of course you can order extra by skew.

酉玉 お通し(野菜スティック、おろし)
They would first serve you OTOHSHI, which is basically vegetable sticks and grated Japanese radish to accompany Yakitori.

酉玉 みさき
And the course includes Yakitori's like MISAKI (Tail of male chicken),

酉玉 ふりそで
FURISODE (part between wings and breast),

酉玉 きんちゃく
KINCHAKU (male chicken's hormone),

酉玉 そろばん

酉玉 べら
BERA (part right next to gizzards),

酉玉 ちょうちん
CHOCHIN (Egg yolks before becoming an egg),

酉玉 ハツ
HATSU (Heart),

酉玉 小豆
AZUKI (Kidney),

酉玉 手羽先
and TEBASAKI (Wings) to name a few.

酉玉 豚バラの生姜巻
Besides chicken, they all serve BUTABARA (Pork belly)

酉玉 万願寺
MANGANJI TOUGARASHI (Manganji chili pepper),

酉玉 金針菜

酉玉 木次乳業プロボローネチーズ

酉玉 ラクレットチーズのいなり焼
RACLETTE CHEESE NO INARI MAKI (Deep fried tofu with raclette cheese inside) and several other Yakitori's.

酉玉 ささみの塩昆布和え
To go along with Yakitori, dishes like SASAMI NO SHIO KONBU AE (Breast meat with salted kelp),

酉玉 白レバーたたき
SHIRO LIVER TATAKI (Raw chicken white liver),

酉玉 味噌漬けモッツレラとセミドライトマトのカプレーゼ
MISOZUKE NO MOZZARELLA TOH SEMI DRY TOMATO NO CAPRESE (Mozzarella marinated in miso and semi dried tomato).

Also, if you want some rice, a good choice will be TORITAMA DON (Various yakitori over rice).

酉玉 inside 1
You will need to make a reservation at least a couple of days in advance. Also, its a good 15 minute walk from the nearest train station, but its located right under a highway so even if you decide to walk to TORITAMA, its pretty easy to find. If you want to experience a different kind of Yakitori, but still top class, Toritama is one the few places to go.

TORITAMA (in Japanese, 酉玉)
Address: 6-22-19 Shirogane, Minato-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都港区白金6-22-19)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Shiroganedai (15 min walk)
Tel: 03-5795-2950
Reservations: Yes (must)
Website: None
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: 5:30pm-1am
Closed: Sunday, but when Monday is a holiday its closed on Monday instead

Prices: Tori Course (7 skews) 1,785 yen
Tama Course (10 skews) 2,520 yen
Shirogane (12 skews) 3,150 yen
Various Skews 210-420 yen
Appitizers 525-945 yen

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KIRA (Ginza)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 19.2011 Curry, Yoshoku, Steak & Teppanyaki 2 comments 0 trackback
季楽 outside 1
There a number of restaurants in Tokyo owned by other prefectures to promote their agricultural & seafood products,providing dishes for a reasonable price. But a restaurant owned by Saga prefecture serves top quality wagyu beef and great service for dining on special occasions or business dinners, not for daily use like other restaurants. KIRA at Ginza is that restaurant.

季楽 せいろ蒸し 3
Kira serves Saga beef, which isn't as famous as Kobe, Matsuzaka, Maesawa or the other famous brands, but is as good as others. All beef dishes have 3 ranks of beef to choose from but I recommend to order the top quality, which is SAIKOHKYU SAGAGYU (Special Saga beef).

seiro mushi
My favorite dish here is SEIRO MUSHI (Steamed slices of beef and vegetables) .

季楽 せいろ蒸し 1
First, various vegetables, all from Saga prefecture come out in a wooden steamer.

季楽 せいろ蒸し 2
Then you add slices of beef on top of it and put a cover over it. It should cook in less than 5 minutes.

季楽 sauce
When its ready, take the beef and vegetables together and dip it to either ponzu sauce or sesame sauce. It is so light and Saga beef just matches perfectly with vegetables.

季楽 フランベタイム
For me the reason why I go to Kira is for this Seiro Mushi, but most people go for TEPPANYAKI (Steak cooked on a large iron plate).

季楽 フィレとサーロイン
Just like any steak restaurant you can choose either Filet Mignon or Sirloin.

季楽 最高級佐賀牛のサーロイン

季楽 もやしは別皿
Besides the steak, various vegetables will be cooked together on the teppan (large iron plate).

季楽 薬味(ニンニク醤油)
It comes with a soy sauce based garlic sauce,

季楽 薬味(ゆず胡椒とわさび
wasabi and yuzu kosho (paste made from yuzu zest and chile peppers)

季楽 ジャンボニンニク
and of course, some garlic chips.

季楽 ガーリックチャーハン
You can order GARLIC RICE (Garlic fried rice) if you are having teppanyaki,

季楽 炊き立て佐賀の白米とお味噌汁
or if you are having Seiro Mushi, you can order plain rice with miso soup.

季楽 釜炊き新米
The rice is from Saga prefecture as well and they will cook it for each person in a small rice cooker.

季楽 Assorted Appetizer
If you are ordering a course menu which I strongly recommend, all courses come with appetizers.

季楽 sashimi
Some come with sashimi as well.

季楽 さくら肉のお刺身
Or if you want to be a bit extreme, they have SAKURANIKU NO SASHIMI (Horse meat sashimi) as well.

季楽 デザートの盛り合わせ
Of course, most courses come with desert.

季楽 inside
Whatever you have at Kira, everything comes from Saga prefecture. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, vegetables, rice and fruits. If you are hungry, they do have a course with both Seiro Mushi & Teppanyaki, where the size of the steak is smaller than the normal teppanyaki course. It might not be a restaurant for daily use, but if you want to have great beef cooked in a different way or have teppanyaki, I strongly recommend Kira. Its located in the heart of Ginza in a building where other tenants are also famous restaurants.

KIRA (in Japanese, 季楽)
Address: 5-4-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Royal Crystal Ginza Bldg 5F)
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区銀座5-4-6 ロイヤルクリスタル銀座 5F)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro Ginza (1 min walk)
Tel: 03-3987-8556
Reservations: Yes
Website: http://jasaga.or.jp/kira/ginza/index.html (in Japanese only)
English menu: Yes
Credit Card: Yes
Open: 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-11pm
Closed: None

Prices: Lunch Course (regular table) 3,800-9,000 yen
Lunch Course (teppan counter) 3,800-9,000 yen
Dinner Course (regular table) 13,000-20,000 yen
Dinner Course (teppan counter) 10,000-30,000 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 16.2011 Soba & Udon 0 comments 0 trackback
更科堀井 outside
I've already wrote about Big 3 Names or Families of Tokyo soba restaurants (in Japanese, Edo Soba Gosanke). Once again the big 3 are SARASHINA, SUNABA, and YABU. I've introduced one of the shops of Yabu (Kanda Yabusoba) already. And now I would like to introduce my favorite type of soba, Sarashina and there are many shops which use the name, but one of the most famous shop is SARASHINA HORII at Azabu-Juban.

更科堀井 つゆ、薬味
Sarashina Horii actually opened in 1789, but closed once from World War II and it took them nearly 40 years to reopen in 1984.

更科堀井 さらしなそば
The biggest difference compared to Yabu or Sunaba is that they invented SARASHINA SOBA, a white soba for 870 yen.  Soba is made out of buckwheat and a grinder is used to make soba flower. Most of the buckwheat is colored in gray, but the very center is white. And this white part is used to create Sarashina soba. The aroma of buckwheat is much less than normal soba, but the taste is so simple and clear. If you were going to only have one item here, Sarashina is it.

更科堀井 小エビ天さらしな
You can also have Sarashina soba with Tempura like the above which is KOEBITEN SARASHINA (Cold sarashina soba with small shrimp tempura).

更科堀井 もり
They also have normal soba, MORI for 770 yen and

更科堀井 太打ち鴨せいろ
thick soba called FUTOUCHI SOBA for 870 yen. (The above picture is KAMOSEIRO FUTOUCHI SOBA, which is cold thick soba with warm soba soup & slices of grilled duck breast)

更科堀井 天ぷらそば
Their hot soup soba's are good too like TEMPURA SOBA (Prawn tempura soba) for 1,690 yen,

更科堀井 かき揚かけ(小海老と三つ葉のかき揚げ)
KAKIAGE SOBA, (Small shrimp & mitsuba tempura soba) for 1,690 yen,

更科堀井 鴨南蛮
and my favorite KAMO NANBAN (Grilled duck breast soba) for 1,750 yen,

更科堀井 たたみイワシ
Before ordering soba, you want to start out with ordering a bottle of sake and some appetizers like TATAMI IWASHI (Dried bar of small sardine) for 550 yen,

更科堀井 ざる豆腐
ZARU TOFU for 630 yen,

更科堀井 豚の返し煮
BUTA-KAESHIN (Soft pork seasoned with sweet soy sauce) for 700 yen,

更科堀井 更科堀井 鳥焼
TORIYAKI (Chicken teriyaki) for 680 yen,

更科堀井 板わさ
ITAWASA (Minced Fish Sausage) for 550 yen,

更科堀井 鴨焼き
KAMOYAKI (Silces of duck breast grilled on a iron plate) for 680 yen,

更科堀井 玉子焼き
TAMAGOYAKI (Sweet egg omelet) for 680 yen,

更科堀井 温野菜盛り
and ONYASAI MORI (Steamed vegetables) for 650 yen,

更科堀井 inside
There are actually three soba restaurants in Azabu-Juban with the name Sarashina and all three of them are equally famous. All the owners are different, but 200 years ago it was one shop. They all provide Sarashina Soba, but they are a little different from each other. But if you are having plain cold Sarashina soba, Sarashina Horii is the place to go. And if you get lost trying to find Sarashina Horii and want to ask someone where it is, make sure you tell them Sarashina Horii, the full name not Sarashina since the person might tell you how to get to the other Sarashina named soba restaurants.

更科堀井 inside 2

SARASHINA HORII (in Japanese, 総本家更科堀井 本店)
Address: 3-11-4 Moto Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都港区元麻布3-11-4)
Nearest train station: Tokyo Metro or Toei Subway Azabu-Juban (5 min walk)
Tel: 03-3403-3401
Reservations: Yes
Website: http://www.sarashina-horii.com/en/
English menu: Yes
Credit Card: No
Open: 11:30am-8:30pm
Closed: None

Prices: Sarashina Soba (Cold white soba) 870 yen
Mori (Cold regular soba) 770 yen
Futouchi Soba (Cold thick soba) 880 yen
Kamo Seiro (Cold soba with warm soba soup & slices of grilled duck breast) 1,750 yen
Tempura Soba (Prawn tempura soba) 1,690 yen
Kakiage Soba, (Small shrimp & mitsuba tempura soba) 1,690 yen
Kamo Nanban (Grilled duck breast soba) 1,750 yen
Itawasa (Minced fish cake sausage) 550 yen
Toriyaki (Chicken teriyaki) 680 yen
Tamagoyaki (Sweet egg omelet) 680 yen
Kamoyaki (Silces of duck breast grilled on a iron plate) 680 yen
Buta kaeshin (Soft pork seasoned with sweet soy sauce) 700 yen
Zaru Tofu ( Tofu on a bamboo basket) 630 yen
Kakiage Tempura (Small shrimps and mitsuba tempura) 920 yen
Tatami Iwashi (Dried bar of small sardine) 550 yen
Other dishes from 400-2,500 yen

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KONAKARA (Marunouchi/Tokyo)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 13.2011 Izakaya & Nabe 0 comments 0 trackback
こなから outside
Oden is a dish in which a variety of ingredients such as tofu, eggs, white radish, fried fish paste, and potatoes are boiled together in a large pot of seasoned fish broth. Its a typical Japanese hodgepodge suitable for colder seasons, but it is served at many izakaya's all year around now. But there are also restaurants which specialize in Oden and one of the most famous oden restaurants is KONAKARA at Marunouchi.

こなから 前菜3品
Before placing any order three Tsukidashi (Hors d'oeuvre) will be provided and they change by the season.

こなから 手造りはんぺん、鶏スパイスつくね、だいこん、きくらげ
So, whats a must have for oden? DAIKON (Japanese white rasish), HANPEN (Fluffy fish cake), TSUKUNE (Minced chicken ball), KONBU (Kelp),

GOBOTEN (Deep fried fish paste with burdock), IWASHI-NO TSUMIRE (Minced sardine),

こなから 豆腐、こんにゃく、みず菜
TOFU, KONNYAKU (Potato jelly)

こなから 玉子
and also TAMAGO (Boiled egg) is.

こなから おこげさん
Original oden's like OKOGESAN (Rice ball),

こなから かきおでん
and seasonal oden's like KAKI (Oyster) are available as well.

こなから 胡麻だれゴマすり出世うどん
Besides oden, dishes like SHUSSE UDON (Cold udon with sesame sauce) is a dish which almost every customer orders.

こなから inside2
Konakara's original location is at Ochanomizu and they have a location in Ginza as well, but Marunouchi location is bigger and more convinient if you are just visiting Tokyo. If you wanna have something light with some sake and never had good oden in the past, Konakara would be a great choice.

KONAKARA (in Japanese, こなから)
Address: 5th Floor of Shin Marunouchi Bldg
1-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都千代田区丸の内1-5-1 新丸の内ビルディング 5F)
Nearest train station: JR or Tokyo Metro Tokyo (2 min walk)
Tel: 03-5220-2281
Reservations: Yes
Website: http://konakara.com (in Japanese only)
English menu: None
Credit Card: Yes
Open: 11am-2pm 5pm-9:30pm
Closed: Monday during the summer & when the building is closed

Prices: Oden from 200 yen per piece
Shusse Udon 1,000 yen
Other dishes from 800 yen

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 10.2011 Cuisine 0 comments 0 trackback
木村家總本店 outside
The most popular and commonly eaten sweetened bun is Anpan. It has sweet red bean paste inside and almost every bakery makes one. It was invented in 1875 by the first bakery owned by a Japanese, as a snack for the emperor who was going on a field trip to see cherry blossom's in Mito. This bakery is KIMURAYA in Ginza.

木村家總本店 inside
Instead of using regular yeast, owner Yasube Kimura wanted to use something else and got an idea of making yeast from malted rice, which was used for making Sake. When you smell the bun there is a sake like aroma to it.

木村家總本店 さくら
Since the emperor was going to see cherry blossom's, Kimura added a salted cherry blossom leaf in the middle of the anpan.

木村家總本店 桜断面
It is named SAKURA ANPAN (Cherry blossom sweet red bean paste bun) because of this.

木村家總本店 ケシ

木村家總本店 ケシ断面
Over the years, other anpan's were created by Kimura and his family like KESHI ANPAN (Poppy seed),

木村家總本店 黒糖小倉

木村家總本店 黒糖小倉 danmen
KOKUTOH OGURA ANPAN (Brown sugar bun),

木村家總本店 栗

木村家總本店 栗断面
and anpan's not using Anko (Sweet red bean paste) like KURI ANPAN (Sweet chestnut paste),

木村家總本店 cheesecream

木村家總本店 creamcheese danmen
CHEESE CREAM ANPAN (Cream cheese),

木村家總本店 イチゴ

木村家總本店 いちご断面
and season specials like ICHIGO ANPAN (Strawberry).

木村家總本店 inside box
All the anpan's will be displayed in a box like the above.

木村家總本店 inside box 2
They also have many other pastries,

木村家總本店 coffee shop 2kai
and a coffee shop upstairs.

木村家總本店 menu
You can also find Kimuraya's Anpan at major department stores In Tokyo as well. Their Sakura Anpan is by far my favorite of all the anpan's out on the market and if you like Anko (Sweet red bean paste) and pastries, I'm sure you will enjoy Sakura Anpan as well like most of my friends who visited Japan. Kimuraya is also the partner of MAISON KAYSER, the famous boulangerie from Paris in Japan.

KIMURAYA (in Japanese, 木村家總本店)
Address: 4-5-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都中央区銀座4-5-7)
Nearest train station: Tokyu Metro Ginza (1 min walk)
Tel: 03-3561-0091
Reservations: No
Website: http://www.kimuraya-sohonten.co.jp/ (in Japanese only)
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: 10am-9:30pm
Closed: None

Prices: Anpan's from 158-189 yen
Other breads from 126-2,520 yen

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NICHINAN (Gotanda)

Posted by Tokyo Joe on 07.2011 Izakaya & Nabe 0 comments 0 trackback
日南 outside
Most izakaya's have a menu of variety of meats, fishes and vegetables, but NICHINAN at Gotandan is known as the meat heaven izakaya to foodies and izakaya lovers. Nichinan's food menu is focused on beef and germ free pork. They also have wide variety of Shochu (most commonly drank distilled beverage).

日南 生ベーコン
You probably want to start of with NAMA BACON (Raw bacon), and germ free pork is used. Since its germ free, it can be eaten raw unlike other porks.

日南 肉のお造り (左奥:ハラミ、真ん中:レバー、右奥:タン)
NIKU-NO OTSUKURI (Beef sashimi) is another starter. Harami, (Skirt), tongue, and liver usually is provided on one plate.

日南 ハラミ串
And of course, a must try is HARAMI KUSHI(Grilled skirt), which you can order only once.

日南 タン煮込み
GYU TONGUE NIKOMI (Beef tongue stew) and

日南 牛タン煮込み/牛ナンコツハンバーグ
GYU NANKOTSU HAMBURG (Beef gristle hamburg steak) is another great dish you have to order. I've never had Gyu Nankotsu Hamburg anywhere else and its an original of Nichinan.

日南 無菌豚のオムライス
If you to have some carbs, there is MUKINBUTA-NO OMELETSU (Omelet rice with germ free pork),

日南 牛ナンコツカレー
GYU NANKOTSU CURRY (Beef gristle curry rice),

日南 ガーリック焼きそば
and GARLIC YAKISOBA (Garlic fried noodle).

日南 アボカドサラダ
They do have non-beef/pork dishes like AVOCADO SALAD,

日南 豆腐のもろみ味噌漬け
and TOFU-NO MOROMI-MISO ZUKE (Tofu marinated with miso paste), which goes great with Shochu.

日南 inside enlarge
Its not the prettiest izakaya to say the least and the above is just a sample of what they serve and they have much more to offer, but popular dishes will be sold out the later your reservation is. So, if possible try to get a table when it opens, which is 6pm and you should be able to order whatever you want from the menu. If you enjoy beef, Nichinan is one of the top izakaya's in Tokyo for you.

日南 menu

NICHINAN (in Japanese, 日南)
Address: 1-13-6 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
(in Japanese, 東京都品川区東五反田1-13-6)
Nearest train station: JR or Tokyu Gotanda (2 min walk)
Tel: 03-3449-4425
Reservations: Yes (must, a couple of days in advance)
Website: None
English menu: None
Credit Card: No
Open: Monday-Friday 6pm-10pm
Closed: Saturday, Sunday & Holiday

Prices: Dishes are between 400-2,000 yen and most dishes are around 1,200 yen.
Your bill should be somewhere around 6,000-7,000 yen per person depending on how much you drink.

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Posted by Tokyo Joe on 04.2011 Chinese, Thai, Indian & Other Asian 0 comments 0 trackback
全聚徳 outside
There are many famous Chinese restaurants from mainland China which opened branches in Tokyo over the last 10 years. When you go to Beijing a must meal is Peking Duck and the most famous restaurant in Beijing also has 2 locations in Tokyo as well. That restaurant is ZENSHUTOKU in Shinjuku and Ginza.

全聚徳 duck whole
Zenshutoku in Beijing has been used by the Chinese government to entertain VIP's visiting China including former American presidents like Nixon, Bush and many other politicians.

全聚徳 inside 1
PEKING DUCK is a roasted duck and the chef will bring out the duck and carve it right in front of your table.

全聚徳 half duck carved
Half of the duck will have meat and skin together

全聚徳 duck skin sugar
and the other half will only have the skin carved off.

全聚徳 duck soup
After the meat and skin is carved off, it will be brought back to the kitchen and they will make duck soup out of whatever was remaining.

全聚徳 how to make enlarge
With the carved duck on your table, waiter or waitress will wrap the duck for you in a thin pancake with spring onions and sweet sauce called Hosin sauce or Tenmenjan in Japanese.

全聚徳 duck rapped
And you just eat it using your fingers. Unless you don't like duck or a vegetarian, I have never met a person who didn't enjoy this.

北京ダック 胡麻付きパイ
You can also have the duck in a pie with vegetables.

全聚徳 appitizer
Here are some of the other dishes which maybe included in the course. ASSORTED APPETIZERS,

全聚徳 ebi chili
EBI CHILI (Prawns in Chili Sauce),

全聚徳 annitofu
and for desert usually ANNINDOFU (Almond jelly tofu with syrup) is included.

全聚徳 inside
To be honest besides Peking Duck, the other dishes aren't special especially the expensive ones, but its the best Peking Duck you can have in all of Tokyo. The Peking Duck tastes exactly like the one in Beijing so you are getting the real deal, not a Japanese arranged version. If its your first time here I recommend for you to order a full Peking Duck course menu or if you are familiar with Chinese food, skip the course and order Peking Duck with other dishes you will enjoy from the menu. Zenshutoku is actually the Japanese way of reading Kanji or Chinese characters and the correct way to pronounce their real name in Chinese is QUANJUDE. So, if you plan to eat at their original location at Beijing in the near future, make sure you book Quanjude, not Zenshutoku since there will be no restaurant called Zenshutou.

ZENSHUTOKU (in Japanese, 全聚徳)
Address: 3-32-10 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Shinjuku T&T Bldg 8th floor)
(in Japanese, 東京都新宿区新宿3-32-10 新宿T&Tビル 8F)
Nearest train station: JR Shinjuku (10 min walk) or
Tokyo Metro Shinjuku 3-chome (1 min walk)
Tel: 03-3358-8885
Reservations: Yes
Website: http://www.zenshutoku.com (in Japanese only)
English menu: Yes
Credit Card: Yes
Open: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm 5pm-10pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holiday 11:30am-10pm
Closed: December 31 & January 1

Prices: Lunch Course 1,575-6,300 yen
Dinner Course 6,800-28,000 yen

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