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Akatonbo | Jul 22, 200502:00 PM

I just came back from a second lunch at Meiji. The first time I went there I had the appetizer of broiled hamachi cheek - delicious, glazed with soy sauce and full of juicy meat. This time I had the chawan mushi and the tempura (both appetizers). I have not had their sushi or any of their entrees, but to judge from the quality of what I have eaten there, its got to be the best Japanese restaurant in the city.

The chawan mushi was delicious - the egg custard delicate, the shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and scallop all providing contrasts of taste and texture. The tempura consisted of a shrimp, a shiso leaf, several vegetables I couldn't identify, and a tiny whole crab the size of a quarter, which I was told was meant to be eaten (this was deep-fried, but unbattered. It was very crispy, with a slight beach-y taste). There were several condiments on the side - grated ginger, grated daikon, and green tea-flavored salt! The tempura and the chawan mushi were each $8, and I'd say that given the freshness of the ingredients and the attention to detail, the place is a bargain! We had chawan mushi at Katsu, and it was very good, but it was $14.50!! Meiji's was half the price and twice as good.

I'm considering switching my upcoming birthday dinner from Avenues to Meiji. If anyone's been to Meiji for dinner, I'd appreciate hearing your opinion.

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