August 28, 2007

Tokyo Trip: Pilgrimage to Kyubey

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For the last 8 years or so, each time I am in Tokyo, I have made it my mission to have lunch at Kyubey (久兵衛), my favorite sushi restaurant in the world. This trip was going to be no exception and I was headed for Ginza.

I had made the booking thru Quintessentially and they had managed to get me a counter seat in front of the third-generation owner, Imada-san. Unfortunately, due to a detour earlier in the day and the horrendous traffic in Tokyo on Friday, I was 40 mins late and missed him. Needless to say it was very disappointing. Instead, I was seated in front of the chef who served me on my last trip to Kyubey, 2 1/2 years ago. I remember that he had been to Taiwan a couple of times.

In any case, lunch started with some sashimi. Wonderful pieces of toro (トロ), of course, and nothing but the freshest. Then it's more of the old favorites :

odori kuruma ebi (踊り車海老) - live fresh shrimp

aburi toro (炙りトロ) - a very thin sliver of fatty tuna seared to perfection

Incredibly sweet uni (雲丹 ) - which was scooped out of a small Tupperware box containing what I can only guess as the natural juice, and even though the color was a few shades darker than what I had hoped for, it tasted incredibly sweet and better than any I've ever had

And of course the anago (穴子) two-ways - with the sauce and with salt + sprinkle of yuzu (柚子) rind.

In the middle of this, the chef had served up bits of tuna that were cooked yakitori-style, which was a signature dish of Imada-san. Apparently he left instructions for the chef to deliver this with his compliments.

After what seemed like endless servings, we finished with negi toro roll and the sweet egg that has almost the same texture as castera (カステラ) - the Japanese honey cake. 

Once again it was a wonderful dining experience, and one that topped my last visit. The damage was JPY 20,000 - more than I have ever paid at Kyubey before, but could be a result of my voracious appetite. Would I complain about the bill? NEVER! It was worth every yen. And I look forward to my next visit.

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