5−15−8 GINZA CHUO WARD
A NIGHT FULL OF SURPRISES
I’ve had Teppanyaki many times before and in many different restaurants. Some mediocre, some good, some extremely delicious. I’ve even had teppanyaki at the charming Ukai-tei branch in Omotesando. Teppanyaki was good, no surprise considering their name, but I honestly had to say I’d had better. So on a rather hot September evening, when my other half and I attended a dinner invitation at the Ukai-tei in Ginza, we were just looking forward to some good Teppanyaki. However, we were in for a very pleasant surprise.
Ukai tei ginza courtesy of Ukai tei website
Our gracious hosts, had prepared a very special menu for us. First we were served some chilled pumpkin soup and some slices of sushi. Then, Chef Lee, who speaks excellent english and is very charming, proudly presented to us some lovely huge abalones that were so fresh they were still moving. I am not a big fan of abalones, but somehow the way chef Lee cooked the abalone aroused my curiosity. He seasoned them, placed them nicely in between some leaves and covered them in a mountain of salt.
While we waited for the abalone to slowly roast, plates of roasted eels were placed before us. Now here comes the surprise. Chef Lee came around and sliced some fresh truffle on top of it. Now grilled eel with truffle is something I have never tried before. And in September!!!. Truffle season is not even here yet. Chef Lee explained that the truffle comes from Australia. I have to tell you that it was one of the best dishes I’ve ever tried and I’m not just saying this because I am a truffle fan. Something about the grilled eel and the truffle blends deliciously in your mouth. At this point, I so regretted that I didn’t bring my camera. I wish I could have taken a picture of this.
Then it was time for the abalone. Chef Lee retrieved the abalone from under the salt mountain and started slicing it on to our plates. Here comes the second surprise. More truffles!!!!. At this point I was ecstatic. Abalone with truffle was another first. And it was also the first time I really enjoyed abalone.The mixture of abalone and truffle was absolutely delightful. I finished it so fast I was sure my hosts were thinking I had starved myself for weeks.
Then came the beef, which was delicious yet became pale in comparison to its predecessors. The beef came with some very sweet onion and you had a choice of wasabi or soy sauce. What I liked was the portion which was very reasonable. Only 5 pieces. Just enough to fill my tummy.
The last dish was the garlic fried rice which chef Lee made with extra care. As little fat as possible was used. No eggs. Just garlic and rice. My favorite.
For desert, yogurt sorbet. Reminded me of pinkberry yogurt in the states. I loved it and finished the whole plate which I don’t normally do for desert.
This was the end of one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. A meal full of wonderful ‘firsts’ and pleasant surprises. I’ve always been one who likes surprises.