Tokyo – Dinner at Ukai-tei Ginza

For our last night in Japan, to celebrate the conclusion of our trip and take one last moment to enjoy the glories that are Japanese cuisine, we went to dinner at Ukai-tei Ginza.  This Michelin-starred restaurant was just a few blocks from our hotel and despite our best efforts to get lost (and contrary to Michelin’s penchant for gems that are literally hidden), was actually very conspicuous.

Despite its setting at the base of a tall office building, the interior was rustic and eclectic, even kind of weird.  We later read that the interior was formerly the home of a prominent farmer and had been transplanted there to give the restaurant its distinctive flair.
This was a tepanyaki restaurant, meaning that they specialized in grilled meats.  We were seated at a curved counter with a hot grill separating us from the chefs, who prepared everything right in front of us.
As usual in these situations, we picked a fixed price menu that we could afford, disclaimed all food allergies and watched with delight as the courses came one by one.
Amuse-bouche with fish and something that might have been okra.
Breaded fish with black truffles
Chilled sweet corn soup
Lobster tail
Steamed sea urchin with lime butter sauce and lime zest
Steak with wasabi, pepper and fresh greens, with red wine soy sauce for dipping
Cold Japanese noodle soup with jelly-covered seaweed and fish broth

Following the last “dinner” course, our hostess ushered us away from the grilling counter into an intimate and plushly upholstered nook for dessert.

chocolate parfait

The dessert nook was unusual at first but ended up being one of the best features of the dinner.  We were very comfortable and had more privacy than we would have had at the counter.  And we felt perfectly comfortable lingering for as long as we wanted talking and enjoying the ambiance.

Finally the hour drew late and we decided to turn in — after all, we still had to pack for the flight home!  Our hostess accompanied us to the door and out onto the doorsteps, wishing us profuse thanks and fond farewells as we disappeared into the cool evening.

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