October 15, 2008

An Interesting Shabu Shabu Dining Experience

On Saturday night, Mike and Ilena went out to dinner with a couple of friends. We headed into Sannomiya to a shabu-shabu restaurant called Tokeiya that had been recommended by a co-worker of our friend.

It never ceases to amaze us how many great great restaurants and bars are tucked in back-alleys or on the fifth floor or the basement of otherwise nondescript buildings in the Sannomiya area. Interesting and high quality places are just crammed in there. You really have to know what you are looking for to find it. Using our handy-dandy access map, we did eventually find the restaurant. (Finding things in Japan is always a challenge, even, we are reassured, for the locals.)

What a fabulous place. When you walk into the building, you change into slippers. Us large-footed gaijin men got large sized green slippers that screamed "Look at me. I have big feet." The ladies got more petite black slippers. We were then led downstairs, through a huge solid metal door, and into the main restaurant area. It was peaceful and spread out, with tile floors, tatami areas (luckily, the kind with the carve-out that you can drop your feet into) for seating, and lots of luxurious dark wood exposed beams. We were served by a group of very attentive kimono-clad women. What a relaxing environment.

The food was great too. We all got the shabu-shabu beef set, which came with a huge plate of varied vegetables, tofu, noodles, various dipping sauces, and we each got a plate of very thinly sliced beef. All of the food is cooked and fished out of the communal pot of water.

During the meal we had eyed the table across the way, a group of Japanese men, dressed in designer black clothing, one wearing sunglasses (in the basement, at night). In the middle of the meal, they were joined by two ladies who brought and were serving them drinks from a bottle of shochu. Apparently, they had been eyeing us too. After our meal, on our way out, one of the men called out to us and asked where we were from. Five minutes later we had accepted their gracious offer to join them for a round of drinks at their table. The conversation was lively and interesting, which is about all we can say here in this family forum. If you want to know more, you'll have to ask us directly. Suffice it to say, we had a terrific time.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I would like to hear more...