Mikasa Kaikan is a Ginza Landmark, and the teppanyaki restaurant Yamato is one of its many jewels. Yamato has a wide range of courses (and a la carte dishes), from which we chose the Keyaki course. This was more than necessary for us to get a firm grasp of the delicacies and services which were in store for us.
We started with the Yamato salad, a fresh and crispy yet dainty dish that pleased the dieting ladies who were on board for the evening’s tasting. This was followed by an unusual shrimp “steak.” Before our very eyes, the attending chef guillotined the prawn, putting the head aside (it would appear later) and proceeded to cook the meat to perfection. Scallops and a salmon fillet were the next order of business, succulent and moist, contrasting with the accompanying grilled vegetables beautifully.
Closing the savory curtain was the Japanese “Black Cow” sirloin steak. The marbled texture of Japanese beef is always impressive, how it can be both tender and juicy yet firm and flavorful at the same time. The experience at Mikasa Kaikan definitely did not let the standard down. Filling out the course, we enjoyed a delicious miso soup and garlic rice that our chef made with a flourish, liquifying the trimmed fat from the beef to stir-fry the ingredients. This was served along with Japanese pickles and fresh bread.
The meal was rounded off with a light and fruity sherbet which certainly cleansed the palette for a surprisingly good cup of coffee. We would recommend this restaurant to all Teppanyaki fans out there as a great value for money at just over ¥7,000 per person. And about the prawn’s head, I’m keeping the chef’s secret — you’ll have to go and find out for yourself.
A few words about teppanyaki.
Teppanyaki is one of those meetings of two cultures that stays more associated with one than the other— here Western-style food meeting the Japanese teppan, a flat grill for cooking meats, seafood and vegetables. The method for cooking took off among Western diners in the mid 19th-century, who thought they were getting a Japanese specialty, and Japanese chefs serving them started to ham up the performance aspect of cooking food directly in front of patrons. Teppanyaki has stuck around on both sides of the world, though, living beyond its time as a fad to become a real culinary tradition in Japan as well as abroad.
Mikasa Kaikan Yamoto
Mikasa-kaikan 7F, 5-5-17 Ginza
Open all week, 11:30 am-10 pm
by Mami Shula