Restaurants & Bars

Tuna Shop Miyatake, Tokyo

Michael M. | Jun 9, 200309:26 PM

Last night I had dinner in the B1 food section of the Tokyo Department Store (Shibuya Honten/Bunkamura branch) at Tuna Shop Miyatake. I don't know if this is a branch of a chain, or an extension of the deli-style shop that specializes in raw tuna that it is attached too, but I do know that I will be going back. This shop is basically a sushi shop that does tuna sushi only (with a few small otoshi on the side which I didn't sample -- tako-su, maguro wine-mushi etc.). It seats about five people at the counter and has I think two small tables. It is directly behind the tuna deli counter in the food shop area.

We both got the Maguro-Zukushi Set (2000 yen), which is seven pieces of tuna sushi, each slightly different. There were three kinds of aka-mi (non-fatty tuna) from three subspecies or regional varieties of tuna (not too strong on tuna taxonomy, I must admit). These three pieces varied in color from bright red with no pink at all, shading towards pinkish red.

The next two pieces were made with seared tuna, one with a simple topping of chopped scallions and lemon, and one that was seared by wrapping it in some kind of burning straw. The explanation for this one was a little involved, but apparently the process takes place down in Shikoku, so the tuna ends up being sent from Tokyo to Shikoku and back before it hits the plate. This tuna was topped with slivered onions and grated yama-imo, then finished off with scallions and lemon. Never saw anthing quite like it, but it sure was tasty.

The last two pieces were chu- and oo-toro (progressively fattier tuna) and were of course outstanding. I won't try to describe toro here, but if you've had it you know why people rhapsodize over it.

The set was quite reasonable at 2000 yen, so I went ahead and splurged on a single piece of the highest grade oo-toro at 1000 yen. The chef showed me the two grades of oo-toro side-by-side and the expensive one had a much finer grain of fat marbling. It was markedly better than the lower grade (mighty fine itself), but I think I'd rather have the 2000 yen set than two pieces of the high-grade toro. It's a judgement call though.

All in all, a very satisfying little stop-over. If I had to make one complaint, I would say that a couple of the pieces were just a little bit too cold, but I was pretty hungry when I came in and perhaps I wolfed them down too quickly.

One more note -- as we were leaving we noticed that as it was the end of the day, they were discounting their packs of premade sushi out in the deli, and it seemed like you could pick up a seven-piece set of some of the less pricey varieties for around 800 yen. I almost bought one to go, but in the end I restrained myself.

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