On Yasai, Akasaka, Tokyo
I’ll spare you the suspense, the last meal in Japan was great. Stumbling past On Yasai we descended the stairs and decided to eat there. We were shown to a booth (western style seating) on the side of the room, while larger groups were sitting Japanese crosslegged style on the floor. Picking each a spicy and a clear broth from the selection of four, these are brought to your table and filled into a type of hotpot. This is similar to Shabu Shabu, but the selection of items is more eclectic and and there is more than one broth in the divided dish on the table. The quality of the vegetable, fish and meat was very high. This meal was a great showcase to experience the difference between Japanese and Western meat. The Japanese beef especially is always marbled much stronger and has less bite to it than the Western counterpart. It is also less heartier and subtler in taste. Since the meat is then dunked in variants of soy sauce, garlic, sesame, radish and other condiments to suit your taste it becomes a rather complex bite and balances the flavours well. The more you wait and as the soup reduces and picks up flavors of the stuff you’ve braised in it, the better it gets. This is certainly a meal which anyone having doubts about Japanes cuisine can try and like without any weirdness attached to it. The only weird, yet funny thing was the group of business people dining on the floor next to us, one elder lady was so drunk she almost fell on our table, when she tried to walk out.