Our guest editor Dine Guy shares some hidden gems from his recent travels.
Once you have submitted to the dark side of the force there is little hope. You will be forever a slave to your Master. And will commit atrocities in the name of the cause. What starts as the odd ‘nama beeru’ (Japanese draft beer) here and there soon spirals into 25lbs in a week of uncontrollable gourmandise. For, in Tokyo, it is difficult even for the truest of lettuce eating, green juice swilling, yogis to control their inner urges. Nothing is so fierce as a former addict’s draw to the dark side of the force. The truth is, there is no other way to avoid straying, except by not going. Tokyo is just a food force no one can reckon with. Weight gain aside, there are zero regrets.
Yakitori Hachibei, Roppongi
It was late. And we had inhaled a few. But even our local friends were blown away. And more than a little embarrassed that the gaijin (foreigner) chosen spot had eclipsed theirs. Horse tartare, monkfish foie gras, mackerel in vinegar, and other delights. Sublime. Chef/owner Katsunori Yashima is a force to be reckoned with, elevating simple dishes like yakitori (chicken skewer) and uses only the finest ingredients sourced from all over Japan.
Unobtainium. Even in New York City. The best Ton-Katsu (fried breaded pork) we had all week. Their Yamato pork is breaded in their custom made panko and then lightly fried in special blend of lard and oil. Juicy, crunchy, saucy and oh-so-special. All washed down with a nama-beeru or three. The Michelin guide agrees.
He ain’t called the Birdman for nothing. We left almost unable to walk. And not from the nama- beeru. Because it was so damned good we just couldn’t stop ordering. Tori-kawa (chicken skins), fried chicken, tsukune (chicken meatballs), chicken with avocado under a mountain of parmigiano cheese… Only the finest of Japanese Miyazaki chickens make the cut here, and these birds are known to be the best in the world. Finding this place was a challenge, leaving it was also another. Be sure to make a reservation and ask for a counter seat near all the too-cool-for-school action.
Ramen Furaikyo, Shibuya
Its the umami chefs like David Chang drone on about incessantly. An otherworldly broth full of treats for your soul. This time with a ticket from a vending machine, cooked by kids who hardly look old enough to wield a chopper. Let alone make this crack. Their ultra popular shio (salt) ramen sells out daily as does their miso ramen. Every ramen prior to this place in life is cup-noodle in comparison. Indescribable flavors and utterly transcendent. You’ll forget you’re sitting in a dive joint. Take… me… back…