December 2, 2018

Japan 2018 day 2: 3 songs on repeat

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After kinda managing to catch the sunset, we stayed in at the Windsor Hotel Toya and had dinner at Windsor Out of Africa, the teppanyaki (鉄板焼) restaurant that received a macaron.  Like most of the hotel's nicer restaurants, this was also located on the top floor, with views over Lake Toya.  The place was apparently inspired by the movie Out of Africa, so the restaurant is decorated with animal motifs, and they seem to be playing 3 tracks from the movie soundtrack on repeat...

As I had expected, we didn't get much of a view in the evening... now that the daily fireworks over Lake Toya has stopped. I decided to splurge and get the Out of Africa menu - the most expensive out of the three offered.

Amuse (最初の一口) - the meal didn't start well.  Aside from some marinated mushrooms with peppercorns, there was a small piece of toast with fish cum on top.  Thankfully Hello Kitty stepped in and helped me.

Teppan steamed king crab, sautéed Hokkaido hydroponics mustard spinach, "Toya" extra virgin rapeseed oil (風味豊かなタラバ蟹の蒸し焼き 函館大沼産 水耕栽培の小松菜のソテー 洞爺湖町阿部さんの菜種エクストラバージンオイル) - pretty good.  This kinda helped make up for the lack of crab at dinner last night.

Today's seafood bouillabaisse - I was sooo looking forward to this, but in reality the broth was too light and clear.  Too "refined".  I've been too spoiled by The Man in White T-shirt in this department, so now I find this kind of bouillabaisse weak...

Hokkaido abalone, abalone liver sauce and seaweed (北海道 函館産 蝦夷あわび 肝のソースと海草を添えて) - yes... we are here in Hokkaido to eat crab and abalone... so I had both.  This was pretty tender but came with a springy texture, so this wasn't as soft as what we had last night.  The liver sauce was cooked in butter and tasted rather salty.

Pan fried vegetables (焼き野菜) - beans, shiitake, and Chinese yam (長芋).

Suprême "Wagyu" beef steak sirloin (霜降り黒毛和牛サーロイン) - all three of us chose sirloin when it came to steak.  I guess we wanted it a little fatty... 

I asked for mine to be done medium-rare, and it was just about right.  Very, very tasty.  Very fatty an tender, too.

Bean sprouts (もやし)

King crab garlic fried rice (タラバ蟹の焼き飯) - I wasn't gonna be happy with the regular garlic fried rice, so I paid up to have some Alaskan king crab added to the mix.  Yum.


Desserts at teppanyaki meals are traditionally taken in a separate area away from the grill, so we moved to the lounge facing Uchiura Bay (内浦湾).

Raspberry sorbet and fruits - some of the fruits like kiwi, pear, and persimmon seemed to have been marinated in alcohol.

This was a decent meal, and we were very happy to have gotten our first hit of Japanese beef.  But honestly, the service here was rather poor.  The hotel seems to have a disproportionate number of trainees, and many of them come from China - which kinda makes sense given the not-insignificant number of guests from that country.  But as trainees, they haven't quite gotten the hospitality part yet.  Neither our amuses nor our desserts were served with any explanation - the trainee just plopped them down in front of us and walked away.  That's not really acceptable at a restaurant with a Michelin star - even though the Michelin star is only about the food itself.

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