Makan is a Singaporean restaurant in Jimbocho that I recently discovered during one of my stints teaching the Nihon University Schooling classes. I liked the mural of SE Asia on the wall. I also liked the ¥750 Hainan chicken set price.
I was once again inspired by Japan Times food critic Robbie Swinnerton to try a new authentic Mexican restaurant in Shimokitazawa, Abrazo a la Oxaquena. Since I had to work all weekend I thought I would do some food tourism. We started out by ordering three Oxaquena specialities, the one above is tacos dorados (deep fried tacos).
Molotes- are a very special "holiday street
food", found in Oaxaca during Guelaguetza, Easter, and Christmas
times. It is made with a disk of fresh masa then filled with a Chorizo
and Potato filling, fried, then topped with Black Bean Puree, Queso
Fresco and usually garnished with sliced radishes. The above picture is the Abrazo version.
Memelas - are best described as toasted Oaxacan pizzas - very
healthy, the corn masa is flattened with a tortilla press then placed
over a hot comal or griddle. Topped with Black Beans, Mole
Negro, Queso Fresco, Cabbage, Guacamole, and Salsa.
Then we went with one of the weekly specials, Tostada de Picadillo, which was marinated pork with asparagus on re-fried black bean covered tortillas.
Pollo En Mole Negro (Chicken in Ozxacan Black Mole). I must admit I was pretty impressed with this operation: the corn torillas were hand made and delicious. I don't usually go for authentic Mexican restaurants, but I think this is the best traditional style Mexican restaurant in Tokyo I've been to.
Last year when I was researching places to take my brother and father on their visit to Japan I came across an article that revealed that Birdland in Ginza had received the coveted Michelin one star rating. I knew that I would have to go someday. So recently I came across this post from Japan Times food critic Robbie Swinnerton's Food File blog and knew it was time to visit.
This is the wasabi sasami which was more cooked than usual, which is fine by me, but unusual.
This was one of my favorite dishes, basil chicken.
The old reliable tsukune with a nice tare sauce.
Renkon (lotus root) with minced chicken cooked in the holes-very nice and inventive.
This isn't your mother's grilled cheese.
So many dishes, I believe this was the chicken thigh with skin-very crispy and flavorful.
Negima (chicken thigh and leeks), another classic yakitori standby.
Oyakudon (chicken and egg rice bowl) is a favorite, so I had to try theirs and it was runny and chock full of tasty chicken. I'm sure I missed a few dishes and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I think we all decided that despite the fact that they use high quality ingredients, cook the chicken to perfection, and provide excellent service in pleasing atmosphere we all have strong opinions about our favorite yakitori places and feel that the price and status doesn't seem appropriate. No regrets, I really needed to experience what a Michelin one star yakitori joint tastes like.
Incidently, we began to wonder what the criteria for the Michelin star system was and I found their website, which had this to say about one star establishments:
One star indicates a very good restaurant in its category, offering
cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop
on your journey.
Halfway through the meal I realized that Birdland is located across the hall from Jiro Ono's sushi shop. Not sure if I'll make it there anytime soon though.
Afuri, it seems, is known as one of the better ramen shops in Ebisu. They serve a yuzu flavored broth that comes in two types of chicken-based broth. I ordered the yuzu shio ramen and took the server's recommendation on the broth. It was excellent,however, the portions are known as cafe-style so not a filling as most ramen shops, but a bargain at ¥850.
Last week I went to the Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho since a friend's brother was in town visiting. It was over the top ridiculous. This is the waiting room-¥400 Asahi and chu-his available. There are three shows nightly which need a minimum number of spectators for the show to go on. We were told that the show changes every three weeks. The entrance fee is ¥5000 and includes a less than satisfying bento lunch (of which there are four choices).
It turns out it s a cabaret style show with robots. The women played drums and other musical instruments and performed several choreographed dances. I think there were more than six different routines (I don't remember the exact number) in the 60 minute performance.
I recently became aware of another gourmet burger option in Ebisu at Hummingbird's Hill, which makes a competent burger, however, nothing special. I can recommend the veranda for outdoor dining on fair days.
I've been meaning to visit Grill Mash in Ebisu just down the street from my apartment for some time. I've been waiting for a time when I needed a hearty meal. The week's special was garlic hamburger steak, I got the 160g portion for ¥1000 and an ontama egg (a half-cooked egg) for an extra ¥100. The lunch meal comes with a drink, rice,and a salad. Next time I need to try the mash potatoes which they recommend getting with melted cheese.