karaage

The first bento after the summer vacation is Karaage bento, which my daughter loves best. It’s still very hot in Yokohama in which my daughter’s school is and the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius everyday. In spite of the severe heat she takes more 1hour to go to school by bus and train carrying heavy bag and stays late after school to study. So I make bento with a wish for her good fortune.

Torisho, Tokyo

Sure, yakitori tend to get all the buzz in Japan these days, but when it comes to chicken dishes, there are myriad Japanese preparations one can enjoy if you know where to look. And one such place you should be looking is at Torisho in Tokyo…

Torisho is a small restaurant not far from Roppongi that those “in the know” consider one of the city’s best palaces of poultry. Yes, they have yakitori, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg here. It’s cozy, it’s quiet, you usually don’t need a reservations, and their food is as good as it gets. They get their chickens daily from a few specific farms around Japan and only serve limited amounts of a certain number of their most popular dishes, so while they are open late, it’s best to get to Torisho early if you want to feast on their freshest fowl!

Here’s a look…

There’s always a small amuse bouche when you sit down, this night it was fried eggplant and poached chicken breast with umeboshi plum sauce…

One of Torisho’s house specialties, grilled white liver skewers…

Their most popular dish, melt-in-your-mouth foie gras-like chncks of inner chicken goodness painted with a secret sweet glaze…

Their deep-fried chicken karaage, where unlike other standard Japanese preparations, they cut the thigh meat into strips, spice it before frying, and serve with a house-blend curry powder…

Grilled breast meat covered in melted Hokkaido cheese and grated parmesan…

Another of their house specialties, and not for the faint of heart, Torisho’s chicken sashimi platter…

This particular platter is all breast meat, composed of five separate cuts in order to showcase the different tastes and textures of the chicken’s largest part…

To ensure maximum freshness, Torisho uses asabiki (”morning cut”) chickens, which are freshly killed at the crack of dawn in the southern state of Kagoshima then trucked directly to the restaurant before they open each and every day…

You even get a little of the chicken skin, oh so lightly grilled…

Much like you see with seafood sashimi, the chef here makes a succulent soy sauce that’s mixed with raw chicken liver. It’s amazing and if you don’t finish it, keep it to use on your other dishes!

A grilled rice ball and Torisho’s famous chicken soup; literally one of the best chicken soups you will eat anywhere on the planet! Trust me.

The fact that the staff here are all Star Wars fans only adds to my love of Torisho…

Jidori yuuke, which is a type of tartare made from chicken…

With raw thigh meat, a raw egg, chopped scallion and the interesting inclusion of grilled cashews for crunch…

Grilled fava beans, which were in season…

We needed some sort of vegetable… :)

Jidori kazeboshi, which is smoked chicken “jerky”…

Made in-house by hanging strips of chicken from the ceiling…

Then letting the smoke from their binchotan charcoal grill works its magic…

And the coup de grace, Torisho’s renowed oyako donburi

Grilled chicken and fresh eggs, cooked into a loose omelet, served over a bowl of rice… with the skin left on the chicken, which you rarely see, this is one of the best preparations you will find anywhere in Tokyo!

And a closer of chicken soup as it’s just so damn good…

The term “farm to table” gets thrown around so much these days that its lost a lot of meaning, but here at Tokyo’s Torisho, every chicken dish lives up to that label.

TORISHO

Oyama Building B1

3-1-19 Nishi Azabu

Minato-ku, Tokyo

106-0031

Japan

+81-3-5771-4194

2-5 Cafe, Tokyo

Japanese designer and creative director Nigo may have made his mark on the global fashion, sneaker and pop culture industries over the years, but you may not know he’s also been expanding his horizons into the Tokyo dining scene…

Years ago, when his favorite local curry shop, Curry Up, was having financial difficulties and faced possible closure, Nigo stepped in and invested in the shop to help them get back on their feet so he could continue eating there. A few years later, he doubled down on that investment and opened a second restaurant, 2-5 Cafe, a casual coffee shop that also serves Curry Up’s Indian-inspired curries and Japanese comfort food…

2-5, which is pronounced “Ni-Go” in Japanese, is a streamlined, modern space, as one would expect from this multi-hyphenate design icon…

Curry Up’s signature dishes remain the main focus of the menu, delivered in their classic “half & half” style…

I went for their famous butter chicken curry on one side…

And the deeper beef tendon curry on the other…

Their signature Japanese pickle & cilantro topping accompanies every bowl…

The menu here also offers a number of other tasty treats, from salads to taco rice to burgers, as well as a truly wonderful plate of crisp & juicy karaage (Japanese fried chicken) with potato salad and homemade yuzukosho mayo…

A complimentary consomme soup, this one flavored with bacon, was also part of the lunch special…

And as if I was not already impressed enough with the atmosphere and quality of the food at 2-5 Cafe, getting to meet Nigo himself made the experience even more amazing!

Thank you for an afternoon I will not soon forget!

2-5 CAFE

2-5 Nanpeidai-cho

Shibuya, Tokyo

+81-3-3770-0725