Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ocha-ya Kosen Nishi Azabu across from US Army Hardy Barracks (百味尊OCHA-YA西麻布)

Despite having lived in the area for a while, I had no idea that Ocha-ya Kosen, a little Kyoto Ryori restaurant, was here. Located one street across from the US Army's Hardy Barracks, and almost directly underneath the Roppongi Tunnel, Ocha-ya Kosen is one of those Japanese "hole in the wall" restaurants that we all hope to stumble on to every now and then.
If you're looking for the place, look for the lighted sign. It's about the only lighted sign on the street, so it's relatively easy to find.
Inside, the restaurant feels a bit like a small maze. Everyone sits in private rooms. Ours was at the end of a short walkway, next to the street and a garden.
Here's what a private room looks like. Very cozy. The table, or kotatsu, is heated from the bottom up so your feet stay very very warm. You have to take off your shoes at the entrance of course.
Here's the first course - a box with nine small dishes. It's very good, I especially liked the shrimp and tofu dishes. This is their speciality and what they're best known for. All of their course menus come with this box. The course we chose was the least expensive one at 5500 yen.
Here's the explanation of what is in each of the 9 cups in the box above. I'm not 100% sure what they all are, but all tasted great.
The next course was a scallop ball. It was a fish ball stuffed with scallops in a clear broth. VERY good - one of the best courses all night.
The next course is for sharing - very thinly sliced hirame sashimi with green onions. Hirame is a flounder, and it's sliced like fugu would be. Very very good as well. Crunchy.
The next course is a stewed fish - buri or yellow tail - with daikon and tofu. The dish was great and the fish wasn't fishy at all.
The next course is a daikon, tofu, and green onion topped with miso sauce. The miso was a bit salty, but otherwise the dish was good.
The final course is crab rice - in case you weren't full yet. It also comes with miso soup, with a lid that was suctioned-on to the bowl due to the steam. The rice is pretty good, but you can't really taste the crab. There was a LOT of rice though, we had enough for 3rds - they give you the entire huge rice bowl to scoop it yourself.
Dessert tasted like apple sauce jellow topped with coconut cream. Doesn't get much better than this.

Here's the aftermath of the meal - a mess. The hardest part was trying to get up from the kotatsu and get out of the room - very crowded. For 5500 yen, it was great Kyoto Kaiseki Ryori though - now a bad price at all. Would definitely consider returning.

Click here for a link to the official Japanese website
Click here for a link to an English Review
Click here for a link to a Japanese Review
Click here for a link to a Japanese Review

1-4-5 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to
〒106-0031 東京都港区西麻布1-4-5
Click here for Google Maps

Phone: 03-5772-6806

17:30~23:30 (last order 22:30)
Closed Sundays

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