There is a sake lounge located upstairs with the main dining restaurant on the lower level. We did not have reservations and I was slightly worried when we arrived as the host asked us if we did with a perplexed look on his face. When we said no, he simply smiled, spoke into his ear piece/walky talky thing and then turned to us and said "just a moment, please." Immediately, a lady in traditional Japanese attire peeped out and escorted us to a private booth. We had two servers - a male and female - who took care of us all night.
The meat soon arrived and Keith was practically drooling, as he commented that the marbling was gorgeous and really showed the high quality of the thinly sliced beef. Our female server placed the cube of fat in the hot plate to coat the pan before delicately placing one slice of meat. She then added one scallion slice and poured some of the soy sauce mixture over to let it all cook for a bit.
After the meat was cooked, she placed it in a bowl of beaten raw egg and presented to Keith to eat. He was shocked by the raw egg, but gave it a go and I could tell he really enjoyed it. The egg gave a luxurious creaminess to the meat. It was a little awkward as the server stood there watching Keith eat, and would ask afterward if he enjoyed it. I think this is just their customary service, in an effort to please the customer, but it is very different from our American culture. We don't usually have the servers stand by the table and watch us eat the meal they just brought out to us. Next, the server added some of the vegetables to the pan to cook in the same sukiyaki manner. She alternated between meat and vegetables, dipping each in the egg for Keith, until there was none left.
When it was ready, a large pot of steamed rice cooked with fresh crab, seasonal mushrooms, and gingko nuts, garnished with edible Mitsuba leaf arrived. It was a beautiful presentation of a whole snow crab steamed in this clay pot with the rice and vegetables. To accompany, we were given a small dish of various pickled vegetables and a bowl of miso soup. The male server removed all the crab pieces, removed all the vegetables one-by-one, and then mixed up the remaining rice in the pot. Some of the bottom had begun to crust up and get crunchy. He then served us each a bowl of rice, then topped with some of the vegetables, and added the crab legs on top. He instructed us to begin with the legs - crack them open using the tools provided - and enjoy the sweet meat. He left the room and allowed us to eat in private. The crab was very delicate and I loved the gingko nuts and mushrooms in the rice - a very feminine dish compared to Keith's beef.
Soon after, the male server returned and proceeded to de-shell the rest of the crab and added it all back to the main pot with the rice and vegetables. He would refill our bowls with more of the mixture to ensure we ate it all. Eventually, he left again to let us finish the meal on our own.
Overall, the service was incredible and a bit too much at times, yet I was extremely satisfied with my crab dish. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen before and the portion was more than enough for two people to share. I was concerned at first - since we were going to a restaurant specializing in beef - if there would be anything for me to eat. So it was a pleasant surprise. The price is a bit high, yet is fair for Japanese standards. Keith also was very happy to have real high quality Japanese beef. The traditional sukiyaki presentation was another first experience that added to our first dinner in Tokyo being a most memorable one.
Total Rating: 4.23
Food: 4.5, Price: 3.5, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5
What I ate:
♥Crab Meat Houroku Kama Gohan♥
steamed rice cooked with fresh crab, seasonal mushrooms, and gingko nuts,
garnished with edible Mitsuba leaf
Japanese Premium Beef Sukiyaki