On our first evening in Tokyo, we found ourselves in Akihabara, the den of general weirdness, anime and video games. And yes, we played a few video games (can’t say we weren’t throwing ourselves into experiencing Japanese culture). Our stomachs were grumbling by the time we finished at the arcades and we sought something close by.
Most of the restaurants and cafes on the main road in Akihabara were of the ‘maid’ variety and so we tried a parallel road closer to the station where we came upon a huge shopping mall. Asian shopping mall! We were saved! Restaurants in shopping malls in Asia are almost always excellent – not just chain monstrosities as you get here and in North America.
After perusing the list of restaurants and then doing a full walkround of the restaurant section in the mall and looking at all the plastic food displayed outside, we chose this very popular yakitori place on the 2nd floor – Aburidori Baricho. That above is the size of their kitchen! All the seating was around the central kitchen and there was an amazing extractor above the charcoal fire, preventing us all from smelling of yakitori.
We started with a few snacks with our drinks. Deep fried burdock turned out to be burdock crisps and they were delectable.
Dried tomatoes and olives turned out to be exactly what we expected!
A complimentary cabbage salad looked boring but was quite refreshing.
And then the yakitori started arriving. They paced it all quite nicely too with our entire meal lasting about 2 hours.
Chicken breast with red yuzu pepper started us off and just munching on that moist chicken meat put us all in a better mood.
Iberico pork was wonderfully tasty and moist.
Chicken meat balls were insanely good and I regret not ordering another round of these.
Chicken skin was not as crispy as I usually like it but still very tasty.
King trumpet mushrooms were delicious! We need more of this fungus here.
We got the last skewer of okra in the restaurant! I love okra in any way.
Shiitake mushrooms were fresh and hot and juicy.
Lamb fillet was served sliced and with a spicy Japanese barbecue sauce.
I didn’t try the cheese wrapped in pork but it seemed to be very popular!
Chicken wings with salt had been under a massive shower of salt before laying on the charcoal grill but didn’t end up too salty.
Chicken wings with hot pepper turned out to be the same chicken wings above but with a healthy coating of shichimi togarashi.
Grilled beef gut sounded terrible on the menu but was one of the best things that night! These were fatty, crispy strips of …. some cow gut anatomy…served on top of a cabbage salad with some spicy dressing.
The rice bowls we ordered ended the meal. The chicken and egg rice bowl was the traditional oyakodon, the extremely comforting combo on rice. This was always made to perfection, with the egg just on the wibbly wobbly side, everywhere we went.
Our second rice bowl and last dish of the night was almost life changing. It was a foie gras rice bowl with hot spring egg and I’m now determined to recreate this one day for a special occasion. Yes, it was as good as it sounds with the rich liver and egg mixing in so well with the rice and soy-based sauce and spring onions. Gah, I’m dreaming about this again.
While I certainly recommend this restaurant, I also understand that it may be difficult to find. I think the take home message is really that it’s incredible that we can get a well-priced and fabulous meal at a random restaurant in Tokyo where we just walked in off the street. I don’t think we ever had a bad meal and the majority of our meals weren’t planned. I love eating in Japan!
Akiba Ichi, Akihabara UDX Restaurant Row
4-14-1 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku