Inakaya Tokyo Reviews
A little bit mad, very hard to find, but great food! Aug 13, 2009
We found this place as a footnote in the Lonely Planet guidebook. It served robatayaki,a traditional Japanese selection of food that's grilled on hot plates. The guidebook said it was good, and promised it was cheap to so we went for it.
Firstly, the place is quite hard to find, located as it is in the middle of the Roppongi area; a maze of brightly lit shops, bars and - oddly enough strip clubs. It was a little off the beaten track and it took us a fair bit of wandering to finally find it at all.
Having entered a very unobtrusive doorway, the dining experience was enough to take your breath away - literally as the friendly and exuberant staff scream welcomes at you in Japanese whilst brandishing large items of cutlery.
You're seated in a U-shape at a wooden counter. In front of you is an array of fresh veg and meat stored on ice to keep it chilled. You basically choose what you want (each dish is charged at a different fee), and a seated chef in front of you whips it up and slaps it on a grill.
As you salivate from the smell they ply you with beer and Japanese green tea until the food it ready. Balancing your portion on a wooden stick that resembles an oar, the chefs whip your choice over to you for your gourmet consumption.
You get the food as it's ready. We ordered beef, green peppers, okra and mushrooms. I can't remember what order these things came in but they were all delicious. The portions aren't huge, about three pieces of each (which we shared) but it's absolutely delicious and very fresh.
All the while the place is lively; chefs scream at waiters, customers and each other - and after a few beers you scream back. It's not a traditional dining experience by any means, and all the better for it.
The only set back was the price. Despite the Lonely Planet rating it as cheap - our meal and drink cost us twenty-thousand yen - a princely sum on our budget. I can't say if that's good value, as we were reduced to eating in the much cheaper (and ubiquitous) noodle bars after that; but it hurt my wallet at the time. The food and atmosphere do however make up for it, as it's a one of a kind dining experience.
Despite the price, I'd highly recommend Inakaya to anyone who wanted a bit of a cultural dining experience, especially if you're in the Roppongi area.
Part of the Japan 2009 travel blog
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