February 26, 2013

Delicious sumo wrestlers' food at Monzennakacho

As you may know, the national sport of Japan is "sumo(相撲)", a native wrestling played by half-naked heavy wrestlers, whose hair style is traditional bun. Strong sumo wrestlers need energy and power as well as technique. Hence, they have to make their bodies bigger and heavier to the maximum extent possible while they continue hard practice.  
Highest rank wrestler "Hakuho"
Sumo wrestlers (when I went to a match of last year.)
To do so, "chanko-nabe(ちゃんこ鍋)" was invented for sumo wrestlers so that they can be fat and heavy easily in a healthy manner. Chanko-nabe is a cuisine in which any meat, seafood and vegetables can be put into a pot and cooked together. Once these ingredients are boiled with delicious soup, it is easy to eat much portion, rather than as they are. The other day, I went to a chanko-nabe restaurant in Monzennakacho(門前仲町), run by Mienoumi(三重ノ海), retired 57th highest rank wrestler.
Entrance of "Mienoumi"
Inside (photo of Mienoumi, 57th highest rank wrestler)
 Semi-grilled bonito sashimi
Boiled clams 
Fried blowfish 
Chanko nabe!!
Hot Japanese sake with burnt fish aroma 
Ice cream 
The restaurant is located on the second floor of a bit old apartment, but there were many customers inside even on weekdays. After eating, we fully understood the popularity because of the taste, portion and price(set meal costs JPY5,000 per person). Staff put kimono which contributes to the good atmosphere. Moreover, the character of chief female staff was nice as "edokko(江戸っ子)." She suddenly intervened our conversation and left connotative comments, which convinced us somehow. My rating is 3.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

Mienoumi(三重ノ海) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g997400/

February 24, 2013

Reasonable Japanese set meal at Kisoji

I regularly go to Kisoji(木曽路), a Japanese cuisine chain for tasting shabu shabu or sukiyaki. But the other day, as I had free coupon available in Kisoji, I tried lunch set meal there. At lunch, Kisoji offers several reasonable set meals and the one I ordered costed only JPY2,100. Even so, we can enjoy different dishes with small portion.  
Kisoji Ueno 
Grilled fish 
Boiled spinach with vinegar 
Vegetable tempura 
Small hot pot 
Mixed rice and miso soup 
Japanese jelly with syrup and soybean flour 
Ripe "Crown melon"
The lunch might be kind of service for customers. The taste was all right for this price. Everyone would casually enjoy Japanese meals in a good atmosphere. The Crown melon, branded melon in Japan which we ordered separately was ripe and so juicy. One piece costs JPY900, but worth for tasting! My rating for the Kisoji lunch set meal is 2.9 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Kisoji Ueno(木曽路 上野) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g084620/

Rich cakes using fresh butter

On the underground floor of department stores, there is always paradise of food:) We call the paradise as "Depa-chika(デパ地下) in general and that of Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi(日本橋三越) is one of the greatest heavens, which is worth for visiting at least once. There, I recently bought two cakes at a cake shop called "Noix-de-beurre(ノワ・ドゥ・ブール)." Just like the name implies in French, the feature of this cake shop is cakes using high-quality butter. 
Fresh mille-feuille
Tarte tatin
Good aroma of butter attracted me when I was walking around and made me decided to buy. If we order, they finalize some of the cakes at the shop. For instance, mille-feuille was finished off by adding fresh custard cream. The taste was definitely lovely! The crispy pie and tart are rich with butter flavor. Though the appearance might not be so charming as the color is just brown, the savor is nice. My rating is 3.8 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Noix-de-beurre(ノワ・ドゥ・ブール) http://www.noix-de-beurre.com/

Stylish soba restaurant in Yushima

In the nightlife district of Yushima(湯島), I found a new soba(Japnese buckwheat noodle) restaurant called "hayakawa(ハヤカワ)." In spite of the stylish atmosphere, the level of dishes and service is surely high. In particular, the selection of local Japanese sake is impressive! Enjoying nice side dishes with sake was so nice before eating soba.
Entrance of "hayakawa"
Buckwheat making machine 
Sake made in Fukushima  
Amuse using squid 
Platter of sashimi 
Japanese rolled egg 
New sake in this winter 
Tempura platter 
Grilled conger 
Staff members are friendly and tried to meet our request to the extent possible. Each dish costs less than or around JPY1,000, reasonable. The taste is more than average izakaya. Soba, made by fresh buckwheat is lightly delicious and gentler on the throat. This healthy noodle is quite suitable after drinking sake! We can enjoy this restaurant until 4am in the morning. Recommendable. My rating is 3.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

February 14, 2013

When I woke up early...again

As I had time to go to the office in a morning, I had a breakfast at "Parkside DINER(パークサイドダイナー)" of the Imperial Hotel(帝国ホテル) in Hibiya(日比谷). Though the interior is casual and staff are friendly, there is air of tension and formality as the Imperial Hotel. I like this specific atmosphere and enjoyed nice pancakes over reading newspapers. 
Parkside DINER in the Imperial Hotel 
Pancakes and cappuccino 
It took a bit time to grille the pancakes and it was joyful to wait. The pancakes are very orthodox but beautiful! Simple, but I could feel the rich taste of egg and milk. The combination with butter and maple syrup was lovely. In spite of the big portion, I could eat without getting tired. The price is not definitely so cheap, but it was valuable for me:) My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Parkside DINER(パークサイドダイナー)" of the Imperial Hotel(帝国ホテル)

February 13, 2013

Pierre Gagnaire in Akasaka

If you have some knowledge on French cuisine, you may have heard the name of "Pierre Gagnaire", as a Michelin three stars chef and its avant-garde dishes. In Akasaka(赤坂), we have his branch restaurant as "PIERRE GAGNAIRE TOKYO(ピエール・ガニエール東京)", located on the 36th floor of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel(ANAインターコンチネンタルホテル). However....maybe I had expected too much beforehand.
Table setting 
Pain de campagne and ECHIRE butter 
Fruit bread and milk bread
Starter 1
Starter 2 
Starter 3 and 4
Starter 5 
Grilled scallop with Mimolette sauce 
Grilled pork with sweet potato sauce
Ice cream and mousse 
Chocolate cake with berries 
Main dining room is chic but bright with full of sunshine. We can enjoy the wide perspective of Tokyo. The price is not so reasonable. Even lunch time, either JPY8,000 or 15,000 per person excluding service charge. But on weekend, the seats were fully occupied.

The main feature of Pierre Gagnaire might be a set meal consisting of variety of dishes using different ingredients by different cooking styles. So, I was excited to see many small dishes were served one by one. But...unfortunately, each dish was not so delicious enough, which did not meet at a focus. Though I understood their concept to try experimental methods on cuisine, if the dishes are not so delicious and delicate, I found it meaningless.

Particularly, the quality of starters were not high. If I had tasted five not-so-great dishes, I would like to taste only one nice dish. Main dishes were much better, but at moderate level. I like the presentation...but what happened? If this restaurant won the two Michelin stars, more other restaurants in Tokyo should win further... or before, it had been advanced, but in the current days others may have already caught up. My rating is 2.4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!