TT18a.JPGTT18.JPGSo I got this message from Staci stating that she was up for some shabu shabu if I felt like going to the Mandarin. It had been 8 days since Aoyama closed, & we’d both been walking around with empty spaces in our hearts (or stomachs, maybe.). A long time ago, when we did our Great Shabu Shabu Search, Tokyo-Tokyo was one of the places we visited, & it had come in second to Aoyama only because Aoyama was at least as good for half the price. There had also been these gorgeous hand-glazed dishes (those are wasabi leaves, btw.) from Japan that I couldn’t get over, & the manager, after checking their inventory, had graciously given us permission to take ours home. Hey, I ask first, ok?

TT04.JPGTT03.JPGTT02.JPGHope I didn’t get anyone in trouble just now.

Tokyo-Tokyo is an open air fine dining gig with candlelight, brazilian jazz, & a pleasant view of the valets. We were given warm, moist towels (oshibori) & presented with a beautiful menu, from which we ordered a couple of appetizers, pictured right: Kobe Gold Beef Sushi & Kobe Gold Beef Tataki. The tataki was in a delicious ponzu sauce, & the sushi came in four different preparations: ginger, foie gras, garlic, & onion. The kitchen was kind enough to slice each piece in half so that Staci & I could sample all four. I think my favorite was the garlic, but then what goes better with rare beef than garlic?

TT05.JPGTT06.JPGWhen our shabu shabu came, it wasn’t quite what we had remembered from our last visit, back in 2004. Instead of one large plate heaped with exquisite cookables & a separate plate for meat, we were served individual trays with small measured amounts of still-exquisite cookables. Fine, so we weren’t going to pig out. I confess to being bummed out.

Unexpectedness continued as we were brought 2 little braziers, on which shaped pieces of paper were placed & then filled with broth. It was a later explained that this setup was called “Kami Nabe,” literally translated as “Paper Pot.” Ok, I guess that makes sense.

TT12.JPGTT09.JPGTT08.JPGTT07.JPGThe heat source of these cute little contraptions is this little votive-sized petroleum deal called a “Sterno.” I made Louis, & then later the manager, Joe, explain that a couple of times. They were going to send us home with a couple of unburnt samples, probably just to escape interrogation.

TT16.JPGTT13.JPGJoe, consequently, is formerly of that fine dining utopia known as Padovanni’s in Waikiki (I smell another blog). He is also a pretty good bar pool player. And he can sing “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” & “One In A Million” like the mic is his girlfriend. He & his buddies – fine men, all of them! – used to come in & raise the cool level at a certain bar in Waikiki I had the privilege of mixing in for a few years. Ah, the good old days. But I digress.

It was virtually impossible to get preferential treatment due to knowing the manager because service was more or less flawless. I didn’t see any dishes I wanted to take home either. Ha ha.

TT11.JPGTT10.JPGStaci & I got cooking. For the petite appearance of the meat & vegetables, it was quite filling. The soup was a seasoned beef broth which lended a different flavor to our dippings & I hardly used our ponzu or gomadare sauce at all. By the time I got to my udon, I was already full & couldn’t eat it.

Kami Nabe is neato. There’s no denying that. I think, though, that I’m a boring girl who wants the same thing over & over again once I find something I like. Is that a Taurean trait? Anyway, I’m still looking for an Aoyama substitute. The search continues.

TT17.JPGTT15.JPGTurns out that Tokyo-Tokyo, back during our last visit, was still owned by the Wasabi Bistro folks, & sported similar menus (Hm. I sense a visit to Wasabi Bistro.). Since then it had been acquired by a Mr. Kimura from Japan, & the menu administered by a most excellent Japanese chef, Mamoru Tatemori.

When you go to a Japanese restaurant, you can always tell, if not by appearance, then by beer, who the Americans & who the Japanese are. American beer drinkers, in a Japanese restaurant, will almost always order Japanese beer. And Japanese ones will order Budweiser.

We were given some nice, cold oshiboris once our fires were out, & Joe treated us to very, very nice lychee-tasting dessert wine. It was a wonderful dining experience, & I definitely want to go back & try the other delectable-looking items on the menu. Most excellent, guys!!

Below, a couple of rather large pictures of Tokyo-Tokyo’s Holiday Menu. Warning: they’re large so you can read them.

7 Comments so far

  1. logan (unregistered) on December 16th, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

    Great blog Lauren, definitely made me hungry just looking at the pictures. I can’t wait ’til your TV show on Food Network.

  2. Frostya (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 1:19 am

    Mmmmm that sounds like a good place to try next.

    Gotta take sharry sharry for some shabu shabu.

  3. J. Blaze (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 1:59 am

    Too funny… “Fine, so we weren’t going to pig out. I confess to being bummed out.”

    You know when you go to a buffet, and there are pans of food sitting out in those metal trays? Try look underneath… those are sternos too.

  4. Harumi (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

    It seems to be delicious.
    I ate shabu-shabu before this, too.

  5. Miki from Sacramento, CA (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 3:54 pm

    Sounds yummy wish I were there again maybe we can have dinner there when I return to Hawaii (my treat okay). Lauren you are a most -excellent author and you have a very natural knack for writing. Have you ever thought about going into journalism? I think you should!


  6. Audrey (unregistered) on December 20th, 2005 @ 10:50 pm

    Omg! I’m hungry now! :( OMFG! JOE! Haha, those were definitely the good old days! … We should go eat together soon!

  7. Jesse (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 9:17 am

    Hey Lauren, “you look so sad” nah, I would be “bummed” out too. I used to go there in the early days, when they had the robata bar and the out of this world tempura ice cream…my wife and I went a while ago and got “bummed” out too due to the changed owner/menu. see you at the rock house or T-T

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