September 24, 2014

Wagyu beef steak house run by a popular butcher company in Akihabara

Near the Manse Bridge (万世橋) located around the end of Akihabara (秋葉原), there is a restaurant building of "Niku no Manse (肉の万世)", a butcher company. From underground to 10th floor, the building consists of different restaurants which you can choose according to your budget. On the second floor, we have "Manse steak house (万世ステーキハウス)" where you can taste hearty steak of lean wagyu beef.   
Manse steak house 
Corn soup
Wagyu beef steak(rump)
Wagyu beef steak (loin)
Wagyu beef is famous as its beautiful marbling, but this restaurant offers lean wagyu beef. However, used wagyu beef seemed middle-grade and the taste of beef itself was moderate. Even so, chef's grilling technique and tasty steak sauce made the taste delicious. Combination of rich garlic butter and soy-sauce based sauce was great!   

For loin, you can select from 170g (JPY3,200) to 560g (JPY9,300). For filet, available from 142g (JPY4,200) to 312g (JPY8,300). The above photos are of the smallest ones. Salad, bread and coffee/tea are inclusive. Not bad. My rating is 3.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Niku no Manse (肉の万世)

September 22, 2014

A newly opened pizzeria in Yushima

On Sunday when many of small individual restaurants are closed, I found a pizzeria opened all day long in Yushima (湯島). It is "da GIORGIO (ダジョルジョ)" which has been just opened in July 2014. A young Japanese owner who trained in Napoli offers authentic Napoli-style pizzas in a casual atmosphere. They have wide variety of pizza menus.  
Potato salad (for table charge) and glass wine (chardonnay)
Pickles (JPY500)
Pizza margherita (JPY1,200)
Linguine with seafood (JPY2,700)
Pizza was tasty, indeed! Chewy texture, burnt aroma, a bit salty craft, combination of tomato sauce and mozzarella...good! On the other hand, other items were still developing and less cost-effective. Linguine with seafood was not bad, but the price was JPY2,700! I understood fresh seafood was used, but it was relatively expensive compared to pizza. I also found it exceptional that table charge (JPY300) is charged even at lunch time in such a casual pizzeria. Pizza is good...a bit regrettable! My rating is 3.2 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

da GIORGIO (ダジョルジョ)      

September 19, 2014

Premium beef bowl using Ise wagyu at KITTE

"Butasute (豚捨)", a famous sukiyaki/shabu shabu restaurant since 1909 in Ise (伊勢), Mie Prefecture (三重県) has opened its branch in KITTE (キッテ) near the Tokyo Station for the first time outside Ise. They offer Ise beef, wagyu beef whose family root is same as Matsusaka beef but which is not certified as branded wagyu so that we can eat at lower price.     
Tokyo Station
Around Tokyo Station
Butaste in KITTE
Beer (KIRIN heartland)
Beef bowl, miso soup and beef salad
Beef croquettes
Beef steak bowl (higher grade @JPY3,850)
Sorbet and green tea
Dinner is expensive from around JPY5,000, but lunch is reasonable from JPY1,260. If you understand beef bowl only through the ones of big chain shops like yoshinoya, matsuya, sukiya, etc., please try the beef bowl of Butasute! Totally another dish! I love both taste, but the Butasute one is impressive. Ise beef is very tender, juicy, yummy! Sweet soy sauce matches well the good beef. If you pay JPY2,500, beef salad, beef croquette and ice cream are also served.

As the restaurant itself is small and casual, I personally don't choose Butaste for expensive dinner of sukiyaki/shabushabu. But lunch, especially beef bowl is very nice and reasonable. My rating for lunch is 4.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!  

Butasute (豚捨) 
KITTE (キッテ)

September 18, 2014

Perfect parfait of Senbikiya!

Senbikiya, the most posh fruit shop since 1834 (see the previous post) has been nowadays divided into three different companies and "Senbikiya-sohonten(千疋屋総本店)" is leading other twos. Their flagship shop and restaurant are located in Nihonbashi, but a cafe has been newly opened in "KITTE (キッテ)" just in front of the JR Tokyo main Station (東京駅). The cafe has become a new sightseeing spot and there is always a queue.      
Senbiliya-sohonten in KITTE
Mango curry and rice
Mango parfait and peach juice
Cafe menu is so fascinating that I can't easily decide what to take. One of their specialty is mango curry and rice (JPY1,296). Japanese-style beef curry using mango is fruity and mild. Not sweet but very rich and complex. Delicious!

And parfait using seasonal fruit is recommendable. When I visited, mango was seasonal. I had hesitated to order mango parfait seeing the price of JPY2,800, but it was a correct answer to have it!! Only ripe mangos of Miyazaki, the highest quality brand in Japan are used for parfait. Soooo sweet and tasty!! Fresh cream and ice cream are also premium. I think I can't find such a perfect parfait other than there. The price is not inexpensive, but it is worth for trying! My rating is 5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Senbikiya-sohonten (千疋屋総本店    
KITTE (キッテ)

Kaiseki meal at a quaint Japanese house in Ueno Park

I had a farewell party of a friend who would study abroad at "Insho-tei (韻松亭)" in Ueno Park (上野公園). Inshotei is a long-established restaurant since 1875 and its old Japanese house is very quaint. Especially at night, the house was very beautiful with indirect lighting. Yokoyama Taikan (横山大観), a Japanese painting authority also owned this house restaurant in the long history. 
Insho-tei in Ueno Park
Dining room
Clear soup with shrimp cake with winter melon
Sashimi of dried bean curd
Grilled cod
Corn seamed egg hotchpotch
Japanese risotto 
With pickles
Green tea mousse
Kaiseki meal is available from JPY6,500 to 16,000 per person at night (the above photos are of JPY6,500). True to their reputation, dishes were sophisticated and delicious. Presentation was beautiful and service was good. One thing to point out is there was no dishes using expensive ingredients which strongly attract guests. Even so, having traditional kaiseki meal at the quaint Japanese house is very nice. My rating is 3.9 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Insho-tei (韻松亭)

September 11, 2014

Women's favorite cafe that there are always lines

Cafes of HARBS (ハーブス) (see the previous post) are always crowded everywhere, particularly at lunch time. Mostly, women are waiting patiently in front of the cafe for lunch set meal which consists of a salad, a pasta, a cake (half size) and a drink. Except salad, you can select from variety of menu. The set costs JPY1,500. As cakes of HARBS costs around JPY800, an inclusive half cake might be appealing for women (and women generally like pasta).  
Spaghetti with tomato sauce and mozzarella
Fresh cheese cake and tea
Contrary to the below Komeda Coffee, the portion is small. The taste of pasta is not bad. Cake is definitely good (though it seems a bit smaller than the half:) and most appealing cakes using much fresh fruits are not on the list). Nonetheless, the elegant interior and comfortable sofa might be the key of popularity for women. After lunch, chatting long in the nice environment with cake and tea must be ideal. My rating for the cafe is 3.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

September 10, 2014

Popular big-portion coffee chain from Nagoya

Recently, "Komeda Coffee (コメダ珈琲)", a chain coffee shop originally from Nagoya (名古屋) has been popular in Kanto area. The strategy of Komeda Coffee is unique. In principle, their shops are located in the suburbs. Their shop is big and the ceiling is high. Every seat is separated for privacy. Cozy sofa seat is for staying long. In a token of this, various newspapers, magazines, books and blankets are prepared. Their marketing doesn't seem cost-effective, but this business model is succeeded somehow.    
Komeda Coffee
Inside (mountain cottage style)
Sandwich of deep-fried pork with sweet miso sauce 
Shrimp gratin topped with sliced laver
Deep-fried fish burger with tartar saice
Their specialty, hot Danish with soft cream and maple syrup
Orthodox coffee and burgers cost JPY420 while sandwiches are JPY780. Not expensive at all, but a bit higher than usual coffee chains. But people would agree to the price for this big portion. Usually, customers enjoy coffee only, but here, most people ordered several sandwiches. Komeda also offer various dessert menu like sweet Danish, cake, ice cream, shaved ice cream, etc. As people stay long, many of them enjoyed dessert, too. Accordingly, average spending per customer might be higher than other coffee chains.

The taste is good. Food appeals to all tastes and coffee appeals even to mavins. However, because of the big portion, I got tired a little bit. (We shouldn't have ordered many high-carbs...) Service is nice. My rating is 2.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Komeda Coffee (コメダ珈琲)