Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheap Eats Review: Tempura Tsunahachi (Tokyo, Japan)

Tsunahachi Tempura *

Tsunahachi = tempura. Tsunahachi specialises in tempura and has become so popular, there are now several outlets thruout Tokyo. Interestingly, Tsunahachi utilizes sesame oil, an oil not usually used for deep frying. We decided to visit the original and main restaurant in Shinjuku (since 1923) on our first day in Tokyo.

All seatings were bar-style, with patrons facing your tempura chef. Once we've ordered, service started with miso soup....while the chef prepares your tempura dishes in front of your very eyes.

This miso soup was the best I had throughout our trip. Cooked with tiny clams, the soup was beautifully rich and flavoursome.

The chefs serves different tempuras each straight out of his deep fryer. All the seafood was fresh. Japanese tiger prawns (kuruma-ebi) were beautifully fresh and appears to come from the huge tank at the corner of the restaurant.

Tempura chef in action
Making fresh tempura batter
A whole oyster with shell tempura - stuffed with a few other seafood goodies

Fish was skillfully gutted and filleted in front of us, and our plates few minutes later.

This is a great novel experience for non-Japanese tempura fans. While there was no "OMG" moments, everything was fresh and beautifully prepared. Menu was very modestly priced and the lunch set menu is particularly suited for those who are budget conscious.

Cheap Eats Rating: 15/20

By Gastronomic G.

Rating explained:
Scores 18 to 20 = *** (3 stars) = World class and close to perfection
Scores 16 to <18 = ** (2 stars) = An exceptional and special dining experience
Scores 15 to <16 = * (1 star) = Very good to great dining experience
Scores 13 to <15 = Good but not memorable
Scores 10 to <13 = Acceptable
Scores <10 = Are you sure you want to eat here?