Akasaka Tsutsui Yoshoku 赤坂津つ井

Katsu Fry

Katsu Fry

Yōshoku, Western-style food modified to the Japanese palate, is comfort food to many Japanese. Yōshoku, written out in Japanese is 洋食, literally, Western food. Popular yōshoku dishes include croquettes, beef stew, and omuraisu, an omelet wrapped around ketchup-flavored rice.

Tsutsui is located on the back streets between Roppongi Itchome and Akasaka. I had walked by it many times and saw many well-dressed Japanese families going in. Yōshoku can be on the pricey side, but the lunch menu at Tsutsui is quite reasonable, about 1,500 JPY per lunch. We had a rice bowl topped with katsu, seafood and meat in bread crumbs and deep-fried. The hamba-gu, is like a meatloaf and comes with a cream sauce and vegetables.

Hamba-gu

Hamba-gu

 

If you want to try yōshoku, other popular shops around the city include chef Narisawa’s Toyoken in Akasaka, third-generation Taimeiken in Nihonbashi, Shiseido Parlour in Ginza, and Yoshikami in Asakusa. All of these are excellent shops.

At Tsutsui the waitresses are dressed in black French maid outfits with white aprons and push the meals out to the table on a rolling cart. I felt like I had stepped back in time. The spacious, dark interior is staffed with men in bow ties and black vests. There is a lovely walkway with a garden with stones that were sprinkled with water just before lunch service.

Tsutsui 津つ井

Minato-ku, Akasaka 2-22-24 港区赤坂2-22-24

www.akasakatsutsui.com/access.html

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Yoshoku – Yoshikami in Asakusa

Beef Stew at Yoshikami

Yoshikami in Asakusa is famous for its beef stew. Tender beef in a demi-glace sauce. Other popular dishes include the omuraisu (omelet enveloping ketchup flavored rice) and croquettes. The feel of the restaurant is like a diner from the 50s in the USA. Be sure to get a seat at the counter where you can watch the food being cooked in the open kitchen.

Yoshikami is a short walk from the temple Sensoji.

Yoshikami ヨシカミ

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-41-4 台東区浅草1-41-4

03-3841-1802

http://www.yoshikami.co.jp (in Japanese)

Yoshoku – Taimeiken in Nihonbashi

Omuraisu

Yoshoku in Japan has been very popular for the last several years. Western-style dishes that have been adapted to the Japanese palate. Dishes include beef stew, croquettes, and perhaps the most popular, omuraisu. Omuraisu is an omelet that envelopes ketchup-flavored rice. Sometimes the rice may include chicken or chopped ham.

Mention omuraisu to any Tokyoite and chances are they will tell you go to Taimeiken. This third generation shop in Nihonbashi usually has a line out the front door. But if you are not in a rush, it is definitely worth the wait. Not only for the food but for the ambience of the restaurant.

There are two levels here. The first floor is the more casual. Here is where you’ll feel the frenetic activity of the kitchen and the busy waiters rushing out plates of omuraisu to the customers. The second floor is more upscale and usually doesn’t have a line, but you’ll also miss out on the experience that is Taimeiken.

Insider’s note – if you are in a rush, then peek around the corner to the right of the restaurant, there is a standing bar ramen shop that Taimeiken has that overlooks the open kitchen. You can’t get the omuraisu here but you can watch it being made.

たいめいけん Taimeiken

Taimeiken たいめいけん

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 1-12-10 中央区日本橋1-12-10

Phone: 03-3271-2465

http://www.taimeiken.co.jp (Japanese)