Friday, August 28, 2009

Restaurant # 13: Tofuya Ukai Shiba

On our list of places to try in Japan was a Tofuya (restaurant specializing in Tofu).
As both our concierge, and the Michelin guide suggested (featured with 1 star in 2009 Michelin guide), Tofuya Ukai Shiba was the place to try.
Located right underneath Tokyo tower, it was a complex of traditional 1 storey Japanese buildings, astounding in both area and opulent decoration and design, quite a restaurant to behold. The real estate that this restaurant was built on must cost in the tens of millions of dollars.
We were led to our private room, past beautiful gardens and ponds.

In this shot you can quite see what I was talking about. Beautiful rooms and gardens!

Here was the lunch set menu.

First course was black sesame Tofu in soy-dashi broth. Tofu was creamy and the black sesame flavor complemented in quite well.

This was deep fried Tofu with a sweet miso suace, and an omelete. Fried Tofu was great, crispy and not too oily, excellently complemented with the sweet miso. It was served with chopped spring onions.

The Sashimi course was very fresh, but limited in variety. The Hamo (Pike Conger) Sashimi was
seared on the skin side, and was a little tough in texture.

The next course was Wheat noodles with grilled eggplant and boiled shrimp. Nothing memorable here.

The above was tomato in a vinegared jelly, corn tempura, sweet fish sushi, boiled octupus with cucumber in a vinegar dressing. The tomato was refreshing, but besides that, nothing spectacular here.

This was the house specialty; Tofu cooked in thick soy milk in a clay pot, over charcoal. The waitress brought in the charcoal and placed the pot on top of it, served us the tofu, then removed the charcoal, the pot was placed on top of the charcoal for a mere minute, so it was probably more for show than for actual flavor enhancement.

This dish was very bland in flavor. I enjoy Tofu, and prefer Soy milk to regular milk, but this was just too bland! The waitress advised us to add soy sauce for flavor but it did little to redeem this dish.

This was grilled yellow striped butter fish. This dish was nothing special, in fact, I can barely even remember having it.

As for the final plate, boiled rice with ginger, some pickles and miso soup. The best part of this course was the pickles, which i clearly remember enjoying. The celery pickles were exceptional.

The setting was far grander than the food itself. The course was around 9000 JPY (98 USD) per person, quite a steep price, especially for a lunch course.

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