ゆうじ Yuuji @ Shibuya 

Finally got the chance to try this mega-popular yakiniku/horumonyaki joint last friday – I was so excited 😀   The term horumon (ホルモン) , generally referring to beef or pork Offal, is derived from the word “hormone” , or hormōn in Greek, which means “that which sets in motion” or more literally an “urge” or “impetus”. Indeed in Japan it is believed that eating horumon fuels one’s stamina and I suppose that’s where the “urge” begins!  In Kansai however, some argue that horumon comes from the term “放る物” (hōrumono) , which means “discarded thing”. Before this meal I would probably have bought this latter definition, because I have never liked horumon. I would eat motsu-nabe without the motsu, and although I was  fine with pork intestines in Chinese soups or Italian trippa alla Fiorentina, I never thought I could one day enjoy eating a ball of fatty animal gut.  Anyway, enough writing!  Here is a photo report of my dinner at Yuuji 😀   

We started off with cow’s heart sashimi (ハツ刺し). This was dressed in a delicious sweet, thick soysauce served with a dab of dijon mustard and some chopped spring onion.    So incredibly fresh, the heart sashimi had no strange tastes at all – it was tender with a bouncy bite, we devoured this within seconds! 

Ordered a side of Korean namul just to get a portion of veg. I’d say this was nothing special but I did not expect good Korean namul here anyway :p   Then we got our grill ready 😀 First up – tongue!  

I love charcoal grill marks ❤    

Now for the horumon….. when I saw this, I didn’t really want to eat it but …   after grilling it for a while, it smelled so good and I had to take a bite :p The oiliness was acceptable level as most of the oil dripped down the grill. 

Then we had liver….  And gyuu-kashira – cow’s cheek!  Initially felt that the kashira lacked a bit of flavour but realized that it was all about the subtle beefy texture and aftertaste.

 Yumm         

We also had Harami (tender cut from the diaphragm area)     

  

And here’s the Oxtail     

and Kalbi!

 

  sizzle sizzle

 Kopuchan (from Gopchang in Korean- meaning intestines) was marinated in a yummy tare. 

As the intestines were very oily, the fire also got extremely strong.

woooaaaahhh

Here’s the grilled kopuchan! 

The bone of the Oxtail we had was also made into a hearty peppery soup.

Then we had lungs.   

 This was very chewy, almost a little too difficult to bite, but I found it interesting to eat.

 Then we had this big slab of sasami grilled with butter. 

  

 Just look at that.

  

  

 And more offal… here’s our plate of kobukuro 子袋 or cow uterus :O 

  

 Last but not least Hatsumoto ハツ元 or Beef Aorta (main artery) 

 

 Puri-puri texture grilled beef aorta :p 

 Towards the end of the meal I felt really cruel but having enjoyed the meal , all I can say is thanks to the cows.

Will certainly return for more funky cow parts :p

Yuuji 

Address: 東京都渋谷区宇田川町11-1 松沼ビル 1F

Phone : 03-3464-6448

Web: http://yakiniku-yuji.com

    

Sal y Amor @ Daikanyama

Haven’t had Spanish food for a very long time, so I was thrilled when a friend suggested to have dinner at this underground restaurant called Sal y Amor in Daikanyama.

As we were exhausted from trying to walk off lunch at JG Tokyo that day, we got here very early, when the restaurant was still empty. However, all seats were filled as soon as clock struck 6pm! 

So we had some jamon and this gambas al ajillo. I’ve never had a gambas al ajillo that was actually BAD in Tokyo, so this one, despite not being the best, was decent too. If only the shrimps could be a tad fresher and sweeter though … :p    

We also had the tortilla de patatas which was flavourful with just the right level of egginess or I should say potato/egg ratio!   

The rabbit & chicken paella Valenciana was good, although when it comes to paellas I tend to prefer seafood…  Which is why I enjoyed this squid ink arroz negro even more!   

The star dish of the night for me though, was this Arroz Caldero, a typical dish from the Murcia region. This came piping hot in a pot and smelled lovely. I have not much to say about the actual shrimps but the briny perfection of this sauce made me want to eat the whole pot.  

Ahh so good.

Sal Y Amor

Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Daikanyamacho 12-19 B1F

Website: http://salyamor.com/

Mikasa @ Miyazakidai 

So the other night I came to Mikasa, a tempura restaurant near Miyazakidai station in Kanagawa-ken. (sounds far but if you take the train it’s only 21 mins from Shibuya!)

 I’ll admit – despite being highly skeptical about tabelog rankings (Japanese restaurant review site) , I couldn’t help but be curious about this 10-seat establishment which got ranked #1 for tempura in the country, beating Kondo, Fukamachi, Mikawa Zezankyo, Yamanoue, Hayashi, etc + a whole big list that I still want to try. 

Called to make a booking one month in advance and finally, here I was!! Everyone ordered an omakase course which we decided to kick off with a little bit of sake…The first thing served was the Otsukuri (sashimi course). Neatly presented with fresh grated wasabi, this consisted of 2 slices of tai and 2 slices of maguro.Now time for the tempura! A deepfried head of kuruma-ebi was served with yurine (edible lily bulb) and soramame (broad beans). I was pleased that not even a drip of oil was observed on the oil paper. 

Soon after a piece of kuruma-ebi meat was added onto my plate. 

I was more impressed by the light crispy batter of this piece of kuruma-ebi than the meat itself as it wasn’t the type where sweetness explodes in your mouth and you die temporarily of umami goodness. It was good, but I was easily able to imagine something better. 

However, the second piece of kuruma-ebi served was AMAZING! This second piece was much richer in flavour as it still had its ebi-miso (prawn brains) attached. 

Asparagus was much better than my memory of the shockingly fibrey one at Mikawa Zezankyo (I was probably just unlucky) though not the best I’ve ever had. 

Kisu (Japanese whiting) was great, also with no feeling of oiliness at all but still retaining good moisture! 

Next up was Shiitake. (This is Doi-san, who has been making tempura for 40 years 😀 He had a poker face whilst cooking throughout the meal but turned out to be a very friendly approachable ojisan when everything was finished!) 

Shiitake – juicy and sweet.

Oyster & truffle salt. Although I normally love truffle, I wasn’t sure if this truffle salt touch was necessary for the oyster. It didn’t do much for me- no complaints though.Then we had Ebi-imo- a traditional Kyoto vegetable which is also one of my favourite varieties of taro! It is called Ebi-imo (literally shrimp potato) because it has a stripey skin that looks like the shell of a shrimp. This one, cut into a long thick block, was like thick cut fries on Anadrol 50.

Sumi-ika was soft and sweet. Yum 🙂 I also always get excited to see greens like nanohana – something about its crunchy mild bitterness appeals to me like no other veggie. This was no exception – absolutely delicious! shirauo (whitebait) was light & fluffy. I loved how I was still really hungry at this point because everything here simply felt really light! 

Tara shirako (cod milt) I normally prefer fugu shirako but couldn’t really complain about this one. It was rich & creamy inside, yet it did not feel too heavy. good stuff.

then Doi-san began preparing the Anago.Also with hardly any trace of oil, the anago was crunchy and yummilicious! 

At last we were given a choice of ten-don (with a kakiage of shrimps and scallops) or ten-don ochazuke (tea rice with kakiage tempura) 

And dessert was a simple yet beautiful banana tempura! 

Overall, I would say that dinner at Mikasa was a highly enjoyable meal with incredible cost performance. Omakase Dinner with sake came to less than 15k yen per person! although the ingredients used may not have been as high end as some of the Michelin-starred tempura establishments, we are talking about spending only half of what one would often pay at other top tempura places, for tempura that is at least almost as good in terms of execution. Doi-san says he wishes to retire soon. Perhaps I should come back before it is too late! 

Mikasa 美かさ

Address: 神奈川県川崎市宮前区宮崎2-9-15 

Phone: 044-853-1819

Web:http://tabelog.com/kanagawa/A1405/A140507/14000813/