Rokurinsha, Tokyo Station

Heard about this place from a TV show and thought it was over-hyped because it’s on TV.

It’s downstairs (B1) in Tokyo Station, in the Ramen Street area. If you go off-peak hours, the line can be pretty short!

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Hype? Well…

This was THE BEST ramen I’ve ever had in my life. By far. Really! Highly recommended to everyone going to Tokyo. I would go out of my way and make plans specifically around this.

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The magic is in the broth. A variety of meaty bits made it rich, provided savory umami flavor, and gave it interesting textures. After eating this, I realized every previous ramen I’ve eaten is a lie, built on salty grease broth.

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The noodles were nice and dense; al dente. I’ve never had noodles this good.

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The eggs are magic too. As far as I know, we just don’t have eggs like this in the states.

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I don’t think I can eat ramen in the states again; at least, not without disappointment.

Rokurinsha
Tokyo Station Ichibangai B1
9-1, Marunouchi 1-Chōme
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Japan 100-0005

Tonkatsu Maisen, Tokyu-Toyoko, Shibuya

I read about this place having good tonkatsu.

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The restaurant looks unassuming.

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On the menu, I noticed one page was devoted to black pig from some special location. It cost more than the usual pork cutlet, and it pretty much had one page all to itself. I ordered it. It came with a sweet plum sauce, and came on a wire mesh tray unlike the normal tonkatsu.

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This was THE BEST tonkatsu I’ve ever had in my life. The meat really was  better than the standard cutlet (which is already good), and the frying quality exceeded that from Katsuhei, which has a lighter crust that I also liked. I can see why this item is the only one on one menu page.

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DAT SAUCE THO.

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I think what really made it for me was not just the superior meat quality and masterful frying, but the way the sauce complemented and completed the dish. This sauce isn’t normally on the table, and didn’t come with the standard pork cutlet tonkatsu, which I tried at a later date.

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The standard cutlet with Japanese curry. Though it was “standard”, it was still good. Better than CoCo Curry House of course. How is it that Japanese frying doesn’t feel all greasy like American frying?

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The rice is better in Japan than in the states. And/or they make it better there.

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Tonkatsu Maisen
Tokyu Department Toyoko Store 9F
2 Chome-24-1
Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0000
Japan

Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511, Asakusa

As an unexpected, generous wedding gift, a friend took us here.

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Inside seems halfway between swanky and traditional steak house.

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The real reason I was here: Kobe beef steak!

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After ordering, our friend showed us something neat. I do not have such skills / dexterity.

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The sashimi salad was fresh and tasty.

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I got the sirloin, which is not my preferred cut (rib eye). Despite that, this was THE BEST beef I’ve had in my life so far. It was an amazing experience.

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It was fascinating to see soy sauce in this sponge form. The waiter recommended that I combine a bit of it with some wasabi and try it with the steak. I did, and I liked it more than I thought I would. Kind of makes me want to try it with American steaks (rib eye).

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My wife ordered the round steak. I don’t think American steak houses even offer this, maybe because it’s not a preferred cut of steak. In a way, its texture was similar to an American NY Strip. If someone told me this was an American steak (not Kobe beef) I would have believed them. Doesn’t seem special; don’t waste your time with the round steak.

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Sakura ice cream!

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And the bathroom was clean! Swankier than the rest of the restaurant.

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I would love to come back. Next time I’ll probably either try a larger sirloin, or the tenderloin.

Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511
Dear Plaza Akasaka B1
4-3-28 Akasaka
Minato-ku, Tokyo
http://www.a511.jp/en/