July 30, 2013

A calm good ryokan in Nasu

Nasu (那須) in Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県) is a resort district accessible by bullet train around 1 hour from Tokyo. Nasu has rich nature such as highlands,mountains, volcano and hot springs as well as amusement parks. Summer residence of loyal family is also there. You can enjoy many activities in rich nature. Mt. Nasu (Chausu) whose height is 1,915m has a ropeway, and you can easily try hilwalking.  
Volcanic Mt. Nasu (Chausu) 
View from Mt. Nasu 
Fishing hole
Grilled mountain trouts fished by me!

Nasu has many good Japanese-style hotels, namely ryokan, same as other hot spring districts. The ryokan I stayed was “Bettei Kai (別邸 ).”  Each room of Bettei Kai has own outside hot spring bath for more private stay. Whenever you want, you can enjoy hot spring. Bettei Kai is an annex of a ryokan, the building and interior are new and clean. I like the woody Japanese modern interior. Surrounded by woods, you can be relaxed in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. 
Japanese-style living room
Private outside hot spring
Starter platter
Set of local sake
Cooked bamboo roots
Grilled sweetfish
Shabu shabu of Nasu beef
Japanese pilaf and miso soup
Japanese lemon pudding
Dinner and breakfast are brought to living room of each guest room. Dishes using local ingredients were delicious. Mild taste, as a whole. In particular, shabu shabu using Nasu beef was impressive. If you can eat, you can order more beef. I didi:) After taking a private hot spring, tasting nice kaiseki meal in own room is wonderful. Only Japanese ryokan provides this kind of service. If you haven't experienced, I strongly recommend to go ryokan resort!

Bettei Kai (別邸 )  http://www.bettei-kai.jp/index.html

July 27, 2013

Nearby Indian restaurant in Nezu

Tokyo has more Indian restaurants then you expect. Though I've lived in the center of London before, we have much more than there. For instance, even within 10 minutes walking distance from my home, I can count seven Indian restaurants. But quality....are quite varied. Few is very delicious, most of them are moderate and some are not good...
Padma Palace
Lunch meal of curry with naan and lassi
Shish kebab and tandoori chicken
One of my favorite among moderate ones near my house is "Padma Palace (パドマパレス)", located on the second floor of a building just near the Nezu Station (根津駅). Their lunch set meal is available from JPY 650. If we pay JPY1,100, shish kebab and tandoori chicken are included in addition to two types of curry, salad, naan/rice and soft drink. You can eat naan as much as you can.

Their grilled meats are strong taste. They may dip meats into much spice and sauce for long time. Curry is rich taste. They may use much butter or cream...which makes us fat. But it is always true fatty food makes the taste better. Their naan is thin and crispy. I prefer this type of naan to thick one like bread. If you expect spicy curry, this restaurant might be different. But it's not so bad. Suitable for lunch. My rating is 2.8 out of 5 Gochiso-samadeshita!

Tonkatsu at Ginza Mitsukoshi

Tonkatsu, deep-fried pork cutlet is one of the recommendable Japanese dishes. Different from some of the expensive Japanese dishes such as kaiseki, sushi, teppannyaki, etc., tonkatsu is a commoner's popular food that both young and old like.  When I had dinner at Ginza Mitsukoshi (銀座三越, see previous visit), I found a nice tonkatsu restaurant called "Anzu (あんず)" there.  
Anzu in Mitsukoshi Ginza
Japanese radish pickles and beer
Cabbage salad
Japanese ginger pork steak 
Interior is woody and modern. Stylish atmosphere, which is a bit different from ordinary tonkatsu restaurants. But same as usual manner of tonkatsu diners, you can eat cabbage salad, rice and miso soup as much as you can (actually, I ordered the second salad). Their cabbage was chopped thin and airy, and the texture was good.

Tonkatsu was tasty. Outside was crispy, but inside was Juicy, lush and tender. Their Japanese-style ginger pork steak was also delicious. The quality of pork might be good. The portion was enough. The price was around JPY2,500-3,000 for set meal. A bit higher than chain tonkatsu restaurants, but I was satisfied. As they have English menu, you may easily try. My rating is 4.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Anzu (あんず) at Ginza Mitsukoshi (銀座三越)

July 26, 2013

Small Japanese restaurant near Yushima-Tenjin Shrine

Just near the Yushima-Tenjin Shrine (湯島天神), God of learning, a small Japanese restaurant called "Chisou (奔走)" is located. As the atmosphere of its exterior is nice, I tried it for lunch. There are two options for lunch at JPY800. Soon after it became 12:00, the restaurant was occupied by office workers around there. 
Entrance of Chisou
Udon, tempura, sesame tofu and sashimi bowl
I ordered a udon set meal. Inaniwa-style udon was good. Especially the texture was distinct. Tempura was well fried and crispy. Hand-made sesame tofu was mild. After the meal, a small dessert (fruits on that day) was served. Not bad as a whole. But...the portion is small. Even after eating, I wanted to eat something more. So..., my rating is 2.4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

Chisou (奔走) http://chisou.yukihotaru.com/ 

July 23, 2013

Suit-and-tie French restaurant at Hotel Okura

In Hotel Okura Tokyo (ホテルオークラ東京, see previous visit), there are variety of restaurants and one of which is "La Belle Epoque (ラベルエポック)", a French main dining. The interior is Art Nouveau style and chic. Original lithographs of Mucha and lamps of Galle are decorated. 
Corridor to "La Belle Epoque"
Big table in a private room
Small amuse (smoked salmon with asparagus cream) 
Cold soup of pea
Grilled cod
Berry parfait
Tea and petit four 
La Belle Epoque is a suit-and-tie restaurant, but service staff is friendly to make customers be relaxed and amuse. Atmosphere is good. Dishes are definitely cooked carefully and delicious. As a whole, taste is not strong but mild. Butter, cream and oil are not so much used. Maybe because their core customers seem to be rich and old. They may spend good time over eating balanced dishes considering health. My rating is 3.8 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

La Belle Epoque (ラベルエポック)

July 22, 2013

A favorite chain of Nagasaki ramen

In Japan, each region has own specialized ramen and Nagasaki (長崎)'s ramen is called as "champon (ちゃんぽん)" whose meaning is "mixed." The feature of champon is  soup made with chicken and pork bones and mixed ingredients such as much vegetables, meat, fish cake and seafood put on ramen. 
Champon with fried squid
Gyoza (Japanese-style grilled dumpling)
We have a chain ramen restaurant specializing for champon. It is "Ringerhut (リンガーハット)." You can see Ringerhut in most part of Japan. Even in Ginza, a posh shopping district in Tokyo, you can find it. Nowadays they also have branches in the US, Thailand and Taiwan. 

In Ringerhut, most items costs less than JPY500. If you have JPY1,000, you can be more than full. In spite of the price, the taste is good. Their champon is addictive taste. Maybe mixed ingredients are well functioned for the rich and complex flavor. For reasonable meal both on price and taste, the champon of Ringerhut might be an option. My rating is 3.2 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Ringerhut (リンガーハット) http://www.ringerhut.jp/  

July 21, 2013

Regular shabu shabu at Kisoji

Kisoji (木曽路) is one of my regular restaurants for shabu shabu/sukiyaki. I have their membership card and they always send me a special coupon like free shabu shabu meat, free sake, etc. That's why I can't help going to Kisoji regularly (I am caught by their marketing...). (See one of previous visits.
Kisoji Ueno
Vegetable tempura
Beef for shabu shabu
Vegetables for shabu shabu
Sesame sauce and ponzu sauce
Ramen using soup of shabu shabu
Sesame ice cream
Whenever I go, I can be satisfied with their taste and service. They never make me disappointed so far. Though we have more posh shabu shabu/ sukiyaki restaurants other than Kisoji, their effort on price and quality should be appreciated. Same as usual, shabu shabu was delicious! My rating is 4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Kisoji (木曽路) http://www.kisoji.co.jp/kisoji/index.html