Monday, December 1, 2008

Sayonara Tokyo

For our final night in Tokyo we decided to head to the trendy area of Roppongi and to the hip restaurant Gonpache.
Known for its new take on traditional Japanese cuisine, Gonpache's stylish restaurant was filled with young hip Tokyoites and we were unable to get a table in the restaurant and had to settle for the bar.  Gonpache's all wood dining area is a cross between the fight scene in "Kill Bill" where Uma Thurman fought the Crazy 88s and the restaurant scene from the best kung fu movie ever "Master of the Flying Guillotine".  With traditional Tatami rooms and booths upstairs and an open dining area with a large dining bar downstairs, it's a beautiful restaurant to say the least.  
Gonpache considers itself an izakaya, but is much more than your typical pub, with innovative food categorized like most izakayas - rice, grilled, noodles, etc.  Again we had a tough time deciding what to order.  When the group of people next to us received a sizzling stone bowl which the waitress then hand-mixed, we knew we had to try "Takana Meshi" Rice with pickled mustard leaves served in a hot stone pot.
The drier than typical rice was smokey and complimented the crunchy bits of garlic and mustard greens. We could have eaten a sake barrel full of this stuff.  
We also decided on two grilled dishes - "Karubi" Beef short ribs with garlic seasonings and "Asparagus" Wrapped in homemade bacon.  Both were grilled perfectly - delicious.
We couldn't pass up the terrific sounding tuna tartar, served with nori and cucumbers.  The sheets of nori were used to make rolls with the tuna, but became chewy if we didn't eat them right away. However, the tuna was fresh and seasoned perfectly, melting in our mouths.   
Gonpache is known for its handmade soba noodles, so naturally we decided on their highly recommended "Seiro Soba" Served cold with dipping sauce and green onions.  We haven't had any soba noodles and we didn't care much for the somewhat bland chewy noodles.  However the hot broth that was served to finish off the dish, believed to be very healthy, made up for the noodles. 
Gonpache was worth the trek to Roppongi and a fantastic farewell to Tokyo! Sayonara Tokyo until next time and there definitely will be a next time!


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Sayonara Tokyo, indeed. I'm exhausted just from reading of your travel, can't imagine how the two of you are holding up. Can't wait to read up on your next destination: HELLO VIETNAM!!!!