Friday, January 16, 2009

Maisen Tonkatsu Aoyama (まい泉 とんかつ 青山本店)

We've passed by Maisen dozens of times while shopping in Omotesando, but never once went inside. We've had their sandwiches before, but mainly at the train station during long distance trips on the Shinkansen. Why today? Because we needed a parking space. Maisen has a parking lot! This is rarer than RARE in central Tokyo.
Here's the obligatory fake food display outside. Tonkatsu all kind of looks the same though.
There it is, a full 10 or so spaces of parking. What a concept - letting customers park their cars. Tokyo's almost as bad as San Francisco when it comes to parking. At least here, they won't tow you if you park illegally...
You get two choices at Maisen with regards to seating: Japanese-style or Western-style. DO NOT PICK WESTERN style. You'll see why if you try it. The Western room looks like a 1950's DMV cafe. In other words, unimagineably lame.
The Japanese seating isn't the best, but it's spacious.
Here's a custom painting on their wall - it showcases all of their side dishes and their signature tonkatsu teishoku.
Here's this month's recommended menu.
Once you sit down, you're given the shredded raddish sauce. You're supposed to use this with your tonkatsu sauce when your main dish gets here. Don't eat this as an appetizer. It would be like shaking some pepper into your mouth at Ruth's Chris while you're waiting for your drinks.
We each ordered the Mizuki Teishoku for 1575 yen. It looked like the best value by far - and I think it was.
You get three pieces of fried food - one shrimp (500 separately), an oyster (200 yen), and a fried fish (300 yen)
You also get some sashimi, two egg slices, two sweet shrimp, and a ball of FAKE wasabi. Too bad it's not real wasabi.
The tartar sauce is an EXTRA order... 105 yen. At least it's really big... HUGE.
Total for two came to 3255, with the added tartar sauce. Not bad for Omotesando and a famous place with FREE PARKING!
Total w/o tartar above. We would come back, but probably not soon. Too many other places to try. Also, we didn't know that they give FREE REFILLS on the cabbage - until we saw the next table asking for it. Next time, we're going to get lots of cabbage.

Here's the restaurant's official home page
Click here for a link to a Japanese review

4-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to
Click here for Google Maps

TEL: 03-3470-0071

Everyday: 11:00~22:00(L.O)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

PG Cafe Paris at Shin Marunouchi Building (新丸のうちビル)

Had a late lunch today with a friend at PG Cafe in Shin Marunouchi Building near Tokyo station. The cafe is ultra-modern and looks great from the outside. A great place for a relatively quiet place to talk.
I ordered the 1200 yen special chicken curry set of the day, shown above. The red ring around the left dish is a fruit jello. They don't give you enough rice, but the two curry sauces are VERY good. The chicken is OK, and the rice is like Uncle Ben's.

This is a fun little cafe, but the food is too little for the price. The food quality is high though, and the dishes are unique.

Click here for the official web site of the restaurant
Click here for a review page in Japanese

1-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to Shin Maru Biru
〒100-6501 東京都千代田区丸の内1-5-1 新丸の内ビルディング1F
Click here for a Google Map

TEL: 03-5224-3455

Mon-Thurs 11:00~21:00(L.O.20:30) 
Fri/Sat 11:00~23:00(L.O.22:00) 
Sun/Holidays 09:30~21:00(L.O.20:30) 

The Moon Cafe Roppongi HIlls (ザ・ムーン・カフェ 六本木ヒルズ)

There's a special limited time "The Moon Cafe" this week in Roppongi Hills. We've always wanted to try one of these limited-engagement cafes. They have these when big movies are coming out, or if a company pays to create a special theme - like Panasonic just did over the winter, or VW did in the fall. There's a special "MOON Menu" above - ridiculously, each of the special items are only limited to TEN servings per DAY.
They had a full-size space suit on display.
The waiters and waitresses are dressed up in JAXA uniforms - Japan's equivalent of NASA.
The space used was pretty big, and there were "The Moon" videos, flyers, decorations, everywhere.
Here's the cafe's menu. I think this stays the same regardless of the theme.
They were playing clips from the movie on the wall - which was pretty cool.
More decoration on the wall... sad thing is, I don't even remember this movie coming out in the US.
Here's the tuna sandwiches. THEY WERE HORRIBLE. Hard, dry bread, tuna that seemed to have freezer burn, etc. The fries are OK.
This is supposed to be a half-chicken dish. You may be wondering where the chicken is - I wondered the same too. Its hidden under the small green twig. If this is a chicken, then a turkey is the size of Godzilla... the chicken, once we found it, was relatively decent.
Here's the special... a dessert parfait shaped like a rocket. Apparently we got the last one for the day... should it bother us that throughout the entire day they were not able to sell even 10 of these?
Here's a closeup of the fins - cookies and chocolate.
Here's the spaceship without the capsule on.
Way too expensive for this place. The food is horrible. Conbini food - DAY OLD even - is better. Avoid at all costs. Only good if you really love the Moon movie.
There's also apparently some tie-in with Snoopy... though I couldn't figure it out.
Here's the business card above. The space changes themes weekly or monthly.

Click here for a Japanese article

6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to
106-6108 東京都港区六本木6-10-1 六本木ヒルズ ヒルサイド2F
Click here for Google Maps

Phone: 03-6406-6833

Hours: 11:00-23:00 every day

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Zoka Coffee Akasaka 〔ZOKA コーヒー 赤坂)

After lunch we decided to go Zoka Coffee, which is on the right side of this busy street in Akasaka.
The Zoka coffee logo on the door - apparently this chain has been around for a while. It's a US transplant to Japan.
Here are the three Zoka sizes.
The interior is nice, airy, modern. Pretty empty though, lots of people coming and going.
Here is the coffee machine they use - I have no idea if it's any good!

Here's the full lunch menu. Not many choices...
They specialize in coffee art - like this one.
Here's the real cup of coffee - looks BETTER than the pictures!

Here's my kuromitsu latte - 500 yen - over ice. Very good, but not as good as Starbucks in terms of quality I think.

Here is a link to the official Zoka site

3-2-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to
東京都港区赤坂3-2-2 アマンド赤坂ビル1F・2F
Click here for Google Maps


Monday - Friday 7:00~22:30
Sundays - Holidays 8:00~18:00

Ritokiya Kan Yakitori Akasaka (りときや寛 赤坂)

A friend met me in Akasaka and took me to a yakitori place for lunch. The restaurant is called Ritokiya - or Yakitori spelled backwards.
The store is right near the Akasaka Mitsuke station - here's a look straight down the street from the eki. It's on the right-hand side.
Here's the door menu - very basic, but the smell coming from inside was great!
Here's the menu you get inside. I love the fact that you can get extra chicken, without extra rice.
Here's the grill - very small - just one person cooking.
Here's the A set. I also got chicken omori - or extra chicken. The chicken was freshly grilled and the soup and vegetables were great. Very unique to be able to add just chicken. Great dishes and would definitely be back.

Click here for the official web site
Click here for a Japanese review
Click here for another Japanese review

3-9-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to
〒107-0052 東京都港区赤坂3-9-4 サカタニビルB1
Click here for a Google Map

Phone: 03-3582-5558

Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30~13:30
Dinner Monday-Friday 17:00~23:30
Saturday 17:00~22:30
Closed Sundays & Holidays

Mutekiya Ramen Ikebukuro (無敵家ラーメン池袋)

This is another instance where the presence of a long line was the main draw! Freezing night, but a 30 minute line must mean great ramen... or so we hope.
While waiting in line, they pass out menus so that you can order before you sit down.
The ramen menu is pretty extensive - here's the menu of 12 toppings. The egg and fried garlic looks great.
Here's the story of their ramen...
Now I'm at the front of the line; I've already ordered. Just a couple more minutes...
This is a pretty cool wok they have nailed to the door. Just decoration, but it describes some of the ramen options.
FINALLY I'm sitting down! Note that everyone who enters the store MUST order a ramen. I you're not eating, you can't go in. No sharing here. Here's a look at the available condiments. Note the fresh garlic you squeeze yourself.
Since I'd pre-ordered, the food came within 3 minutes. This is the 800 yen Kani Miso Ramen - this FIRST time I've ever seen a CRAB GUTS ramen! The soup is flavored by the greenish yellow crab guts you find in the crab shell. It's really interesting and pretty good!!! The chashu was super soft and warm, one of the best. The fried garlic also tastes great.
The egg was exceptional - it was smoked and perfectly boiled so that the yolk is exactly half solid.
Here's the business cards, top and bottom.
Mutekiya is great, I'd definitely stop by again - just for the eggs even - but a 30 min wait in the cold was a bit excessive.

Click here for the official restaurant's link Japanese
Click here for the official restaurant's link in English, Korean and simplified Chinese
Click here for a Japanese review

1-17-1 Minami Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo-to
東京都豊島区南池袋1-17-1 崎本ビル
Click here for a link to Google Maps

Phone: 03-3982-7656

Everyday: 10:30am to 04:00am