If you’re hankering for some traditional Japanese fare in an old shitamachi setting, look no further than Hantei Nezu Honten.
Travel Back in Time at a Meiji Period Landmark
Originally located in Ueno, kushiage restaurant Hantei Nezu Honten relocated to the Nezu area in 1978. Since then it has been serving mouthwatering deep-fried skewers of vegetables and meat in a traditional home hailing from the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The house is a rarity as it’s a three-story structure that boasts official cultural heritage certification – and with good reason: the building miraculously survived the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and the firebombing of Tokyo during WWII, and avoided demolition by hungry developers after that.
Hantei exudes a relaxing atmosphere typical of old traditional homes and boasts an excellent view of the shitamachi streets surrounding it from the second and third floors. Given its spacious interior — including a storehouse inside the main building — it’s perfect for large parties as well as more intimate date nights.
If you’re stumped over what to order, have no fear — every guest at Hantei is served an ichinozen, which is an initial serving of six pieces of kushiage, two appetizers, and a bowl of fresh vegetables. The ichinozen is the chef’s daily special — each item is chosen with care to fit the season and circumstances that day. Guests who have allergies or other dietary requirements should notify the restaurant in advance so that they may accommodate your needs.
Paired with the kushiage is a set of three dipping bowls filled with miso with meat, salt, and sauce respectively. The recommended pairings are meat kushiage with sauce, and seafood, fish, and vegetable kushiage with salt. The miso with meat matches the fresh taste of the vegetables perfectly. Don’t feel like you have to follow these recommendations — feel free to experiment!
With up to 36 seasonal kushiage offerings available, guests can enjoy up to six servings (known as rokunozen), each of which will be brought to the table in succession as you finish. You can change the order as you go, just let the server know. Likewise, if you would like to stop eating at any time, simply let the staff know that you’re done — otherwise another plate of delectable kushiage will make an appearance.
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