Saturday, July 19, 2014

Last Dinner (sigh) - Ukai-Tei

We made reservations for our last night in Tokyo before we went to Kyoto; and after meeting up at the hotel and swapping stories about our respective mountain adventures, we changed into nicer clothes and walked across the street in search of Ukai-Tei.

If you have followed our previous Michelin adventures, you will not be surprised that we though this was the main entrance to the restaurant:

In fact, we were surprised it even had a sign.  But, no!  This was actually the back door.  We were astounded to discover that this was the actual restaurant front:

The decor inside was a bit wild, with stones, red-painted wood beams, oceanic-styled lighting, and marine mosaics, but the staff was attentive and polite.

Soon we were seated at two seats in front of a large, semi-circular grill:

We both selected a pre-set menu (our favorite!), and soon dish after dish of deliciousness were prepared and set in front of us.

I've forgotten what's in this dish.  Fish?
It's pretty, though!

Something with asparagus?

Cold (served on a bed of ice!) sweet corn soup - delicious!

Lobster.  I'm not a fan.

Second best dish of the meal with definite points for exoticness.
The chef wrung out a giant soaking sheet of kelp, then arranged it on the grill in a next.
He then placed two halved sea urchins on the nest and sprinkled Evian water around them before leaving them to steam under a copper dome.
After just a moment or two, he plated them on seaweed and spooned a lime butter sauce on top.
The sea urchin was like cream - they melted in the mouth!

Best dish of the night - steak cooked medium rare (at the chef's recommendation)
with red wine/soy sauce to dip it in, fresh (and mild) wasabi, and cracked pepper.

Not a fan of this one - cold noodle soup, super fishy.

Japanese-style creme caramel

And a selection of cookies for the final touch

Amusingly, after the beef course they escorted us to a separate part of the restaurant for dessert.  It was actually kind of fun to have a change of scenery and seating, it refreshed our conversation, and allowed us to linger without worrying about taking up table space.

When it was time to leave, the maitre d' checked with us to see how the meal went.  We sang its praises, and turned down her offer for calling a taxi.  She escorted us outside, bowing and biding us farewell over and over again until we walked out of sight.  (I do believe she would have walked us back to the hotel if we had asked.)

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