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, DonsKawai Building B1F, 1-7-6 Ginza,Chuo-ko, Tokyo
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best world meat?
eye lo descubrió en abril de 2014
“The assignment came from my boss in London, to seek out and eat the best steak in Tokyo. Tough assignment from Chowzter, but Shinji and I were up to the challenge. We were surprised when we called Dons de la Nature and got in within a few days. Seems that this restaurant is not yet on everyone’s radar.
The restaurant is located in an unassuming basement on the main Chuo Dori street in the Ginza shopping district. Walking into the corridor leading to the elevator we feel as though we are in the wrong spot, until we spot the window filled with wine bottles and the name of the restaurant. We arrive and the okami-san (female manager overlooking the front of the house) is very friendly and down to earth. She takes our jackets and brings us to our table.
This evening there are only two options of steak, a filet from Yonezawa in Yamagata and a sirloin from Saga. The sirloin is highly marbled and has more fat than meat. The filet, while meaty, still has a nice amount of shimofuri, the white fat that is flecked throughout the meat. The steak is cut into 400-gram portions and cooked in one piece before it is cut and shared, so couples must agree on the same cut. The sirloin looked too fatty so we agreed on the filet.
Saga sirloin on top and Yonezawa filet on the bottom
While the interior is tired and service is casual, the cuisine on the plate is taken very seriously. Chef Otsuka trained as a French chef and it is reflected in his carefully assembled salad topped with fresh crab legs, Japanese tiger prawn, and salmon. The consommé is classically made and I quickly forget about the environs and focus on the food.
The steaks start at about 30,000 JPY each ($300 USD) which is shared between two people. That is before soup and salad. There is also a course menu which starts at 21,000 JPY per person. We took wine by the glass but there is also a long list to choose from of mostly French wines.The raising of kuroge wagyū (black-haired Japanese cattle) in Japan is very different from what you’ll find outside of Japan. The cows are grass-fed the first eight months of their lives. Each farmer selects the feed he believes to be best for the wagyū, such as soybeans or corn or straw. The last four months of their lives the cows are not fed straw anymore. We asked chef Otsuka if it is true that wagyū are fed beer and he said some places do, but that it is actually quite rare. But, he did confirm that wagyū are massaged daily. This is what helps to give the beef the shimofuri marbling that it is so famous for.
Chef Otsuka came to our table and talked about how he selects his wagyū. He only picks the best that he finds at the wholesale market so his inventory is constantly changing. He has no preferences or loyalties to any region, but will pick what is the best that day at the market.
The wagyū is first dry-aged for one month, increasing the natural umami in the meat. The second month it is wet-aged. At this point the fat in the meat turns into amino acids, adding even more umami to the meat. The aging is all done in-house.
Chef Otsuka could see that we were so curious about our dinner as we peppered him with questions and he generously invited us into his kitchen. The meat is skewered and then cooked in a kiln that was custom built for the sole purpose of grilling the meat with intense heat. The charcoal used at Dons de la Nature is made from Kinshu binchotan. Binchotan is a charcoal made from a Japanese oak tree. And, while many places may say that they use binchotan for grilling, the best quality binchotan is said to come from Kinshu, and the stock is very limited. Some binchotan is not even Japanese. We were told the binchotan can bring the oven to a temperature of upwards of 800 to 1000 degrees Centigrade.
Chef Otsuka seasons the wagyū with salt and pepper, skewers the steak, and then puts it into the kiln over the binchotan. He then closes the kiln and listens for the sound of the fat in the wagyū melting and falling onto the hot binchotan. The charcoal then starts to smoke, adding another layer of flavor to the steak. An Argentinian chef friend of mine recently told me about the seven ways to cook meat in Argentina and one of the methods was in a similar kiln. I wonder if this is where chef Otsuka came up with the idea.
The recommended serving for the steak is medium rare. The outside is just seared in the middle is still red. The steak is presented whole and then is cut at the table into two pieces for each person.
The steak is incredibly rich in umami. The contrast in texture from the crispy seared outside to the tender, rare inside is a treat. As the steak is marbled with fat it almost melts in your mouth. After my first bite “oh my God” came out of my mouth. I didn’t realize it until I heard the okami-san laughing. It was, hands down, the best steak I have ever had in my life.
In speaking with chef Otsuka after our meal he said what makes his steaks so unique is the searing in the custom-made kiln. Otsuka explained that most restaurants cook steak in a pan over a gas heater and that the sauté pan can only get up to about 250 degrees Centigrade. He also said that as wagyū is so fatty that when it is cooked in a pan that it is cooking in its own fat. And, that the searing directly over charcoals is the method that he thinks is ideal for Japanese beef.
This is what makes his steak the best in Tokyo, if not the best in the world.”
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pegado al mercado...el sushi mas fresco
eye lo descubrió en febrero de 2013
For the world's freshest sushi, look no further than the world's largest fish market. Tokyo's Central Wholesale Market, also known as the Tsukiji Fish Market, handles roughly 3,000 tons—and more than 450 varieties—of fish a day. Early morning is prime time to taste the fish fresh off the boat, plane, or train. There are two sushi counters that are considered not just the market's top spots but among the best in all of Tokyo: Sushi-Dai is more widely known than Daiwa Sushi, but you can't go wrong at either sardine-size place, assuming you're willing to wait the better part of an hour in line. Everything from anago to uni is lovingly sliced and served straight to you, piece by delicate piece, from the counterman's chopsticks. It's a boisterous, jammed spot at the counter for some of the tastiest, freshest fish you will ever eat in your life
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347-1 Clematis no Oka, Higashino, Nagaizumi-cho, Shizuoka 411-0931 Japan, Nagaizumi-cho
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museo y arquitectura
eye lo descubrió en enero de 2013
The Izu Photo Museum is part of the Clematis no Oka, a beautiful complex that combines art and nature at the slow pace of the hills of mount Takayama. It is a very understated yet beautiful building where every detail has been designed with the light touch of an intrinsically Japanese manner. The building feels like a journey, a story told through a series of spaces, and gardens that interlink naturally, unpretentiously , allowing the exhibition to talk to the visitor without interruption. The subtlety of details contributes to the overall experience. The display walls, for instance, appear suspended, as supporting structure is painted in black and the white boards do not not touch the floor which lowers its edge as a contribution to the overall effect. The gardens act as pauses in the journey. They are windows to places one wants to stop and contemplate, reminiscent of those photographies that Hiroshi Sugimoto took at the New York Natural History Museum.
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eye lo descubrió en abril de 2013
Ukiyo-e originated at the beginning of the Tokugawa era as a form of popular art unique to Japan. However, from the end of the Tokugawa era to the beginning of the Meiji Period, many masterpieces leaked out to the West, and it was said that one had to go abroad in order to enjoy hanga prints and original artwork.
The late Seizo Ota V lamented such conditions, and from the beginning of the Showa Period, he spent more than half a century collecting ukiyo-e, compiling a collection of over 14,000 pieces.
After Ota Seizo's death, his family fulfilled his vision -contributing to the promotion of Japan's traditional art- by holding exhibitions of artwork that had never been available to the public before.
What makes the Ota collection especially remarkable is its depth, with representative masterpieces from the birth of the ukiyo-e tradition to its height. The colors and materials of the originals have been perfectly preserved.
Mr. Ota hoped that displaying this collection could contribute to the cultivation of a deeper sense of beauty, and it is our earnest desire that this Museum will be visited by as many people as possible.
eye lo descubrió en abril de 2013
10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (Entrance until 4:30 p.m.)
Friday 10:00 a.m.-7:00p.m.(Entrance until 6:30p.m.)
Monday (The Museum will be open when Monday is a national holiday.), the year-end and New Year holidays, and the change of exhibits.
High School and College Students: ¥700
Junior High School Students or Younger: Free (with Parent or Guardian)
Groups of 20 or more: ¥200 Discount, each
* ¥200 Discount for Persons with Disability (with Presentation of the Physical Disability Certificate and Free Admission for one Caretaker)
Idemitsu Museum of Arts
9th Floor, Teigeki Bldg., 3-1-1,
Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0005
A 5-minute walk from Kokusai Forum Exit of JR Yūrakuchō Station or a 3-minute walk from B3 Exit of Subway Yūrakuchō and Hibiya Stations.
The Idemitsu Museum of Arts was opened in 1966 as an exhibition hall for the Idemitsu Collection. The building is located on the 9th floor of the Imperial Theater Building looking down over the beautiful Imperial Garden in Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. The museum is designed to incorporate the Japanese spirit of welcome in the setting of the modern building and invites visitors to enjoy the artworks in comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
Special exhibitions are held about six to seven times a year, with themed exhibitions of selected works from the Idemitsu Collection of Japanese painting and calligraphy, and East Asian ceramics. Other attractions include a year-round exhibition of major works by Georges Rouault (1871-1958), the French master of religious paintings who is famous for the series called “Passion” depicting the last days of life of Jesus Christ. The works by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1862-1945) are on long-term loan from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. The unique feature of the Museum is the Sherd Room where fragments of pottery collected from kilns around Asia and Egypt (Fustat site, Cairo) are displayed.
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