In celebration of our 100th post we’re going to do something a bit different this time around…first post to feature video content! A word of caution for vegetarians and those who are easily offended, overly squeamish or just fussy…don’t watch the video, you’ve been warned.
Growing up in Texas, it’s safe to say that I’m no stranger to the concept of charcoal grilling. Seated on a one foot high stool in the Hakano area of Tokyo, Japan, watching abalone writhe and wriggle as it cooked in front of our eyes… I realized just how limited my concept of charcoal grilling really is.
I received a text message from an old friend of mine asking us to meet up with him near the Nakano station in Tokyo Japan. Our experiences the weekend before taught us that we were in for a treat and that it would most likely be a place not found in a guide book.
We exited the station to find a thriving night scene. There was an open air (but covered) mall similar to the massive multi-street mall found in downtown Kyoto. Troy found us near the opening of the mall and we enjoyed a performance by a street jazz trio featuring guitar, bass, and tap dancer for percussionist! After a couple songs we headed off into a web of narrow side streets in search of our dinner location.
We arrived at Uroko, a…well let’s call it a seafood restaurant. Troy informed us that this style of restaurant is known as Amiyaki – charcoal restaurant. To me Amiyaki seems to be the love-child of Tepinyaki and Sukiyaki. You charcoal grill your own food at your table. The better restaurants have the best and freshest ingredients. Simple concept and one that if done right (in our extremely limited experience) can lead to an amazing and inexpensive meal.
The restaurant, built out of old boxes, was packed. There is absolutely no English anywhere…on any menu, sign, etc. Troy and his wife ordered up various dishes, occasionally letting us know what we were in store for.
Next out was a lovely, fresh scallop salad.
Then came the sake boiled clams…mmmm, I’m on the fence with clams. I think normally they’re not used correctly in dishes, or aren’t as fresh as they need to be. These were great.
Then came a cabbage with spicy miso (known as Kara Miso). This dish sounds simple and easy…and it is, but man is flavorful. I’d eat this gladly over chips and salsa as a pre-meal snack any day.
Finally, the main show…live Abalone. It’s a little hard to watch. The little guy struggles in vain to wiggle out of it’s shell and find water and relief. But the payoff is worth it…so tasty.
And then came probably one of the best things I’ve eaten in my life…the Tuna Jaw. They just dropped off this Flinstones looking hunk of Jaw meat for us to grill ourselves at the table. Grilled with a bit of char on the skin… mmm this meat should be on the dinner tables of every meat loving person regardless of country. I congratulate the Japanese for keeping this wonderful dish a secret… but they’re hogging of all the best tuna parts should come to an end. We need tuna jaw in the rest of the world
To finish off the meal we ordered up some Conch (as one does
So how much did this epic feast run us? I mean we’ve all heard the horror stories about how expensive Japan is, right? All in all, about 25 USD a person for all of this food and a couple pitchers of Yebisu beer! When I get back to Tokyo again, this place is on my short list.
Take the North exit off the Nakano Metro Station.
Walk around till you see the shop pictured above