Dinner in Ikebukuro

wagyu beef with a red wine and shiitake jus, roasted sweet potato, fried crab claws, asparagus and greenything

Hello. Yes I’m in Japan and my first night didn’t end up at an izakaya or shouting at people but since my friend Andrew had a nice new apartment and Danny promised he’d bring a bottle of French Sparkling Rose, and Uyen would talk loudly and keep us amused and I had a litre bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask, perhaps I could dinner and I did. A stop in a Tobu Department store got us a fillet of katsuo, a slab of squid, ten crab claws, and four 50gm steaks, a sweet potato, some shiitake and a few greens. The katsuo was seared just on the outside and sliced, the squid scored and lightly cooked and then that went on a bed of lettuce and spanish onion with a dressing of soy, mirin, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic chives and sesame seeds.

wagyu with the thoughtfully added lumps of lard


The sweet potato was diced and slowly roasted with olive oil and rosemary. The asparagus and the nanohana(?) was boiled and tossed with a little seasoning. The crab claws were dipped in milk and then dredged in flour with salt pepper and togarashi and then deep fried. The wagyu steaks handily came with cubes of lard and it was cooked in that a bit close to medium than medium rare. Sauce was a jus made by sauteing spring onions and two finely chopped shiitake mushrooms in butter and then reducing some red wine and straining. To bring up some bite and for a geographical nod I grated a little fresh wasabi in there and glossed it up with a little butter. Assembled as above and it was quite lovely. The nanohana had a slight bitterness, the sweet potato was, well sweet, from slow roasting and crunchy, the steak was unspeakably tender and the crab lifted it all from being meat and three veg. The steaks sizes weren’t going to impress anybody at Sizzler but you have to wonder if we couldn’t just eat less and enjoy it more. No? Uyen has great fractal eating habits and would reduce the plate to ever decreasingly sized but equally proportioned servings which was impressive.

tastiest strawberries ever


Dessert was perfect strawberries with a splash of balsamic and yes well it was an evening without fault. Andrew captured it better than me and he’s got a few lovely pics amongst many here, here, here, and here.

It’s a good thing, and it’s all good, and it’s a good to have friends, and its good to enjoy good things. But you know this.

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12 comments

  1. Sue’s avatar

    Lucky you. Are you hanami’ing? Have a matcha mochi for me!

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Han the bloom has gone. I’ll keep en eye out for matcha mochi though.

  3. Anthony’s avatar

    Han? What the hell was I on about?

  4. Sue’s avatar

    Maybe you think I am the late barbarian Han reincarnated or you were trying to call me Hun or maybe Han=Sue in Japanese.

  5. Gracianne’s avatar

    Thanks for sharing those good things with us. The steacks are small, but look really tasty, I have never tasted wagyu. What is katsuo?

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Sue
    No No sue is rice vinegar in Japanese and you’re much swetter thatn that (awwwwwwww)

    Gracianne
    I’m afraid we ate them all son you can’t have any but yes in spirit no? Steaks were large enough to say wow that’s great, at the apex of diminishing marginal return. Gravyty’s Rainbow. Wagyu is fabulous – marbled with fat, I wonder why we bother with lean steak when we could just have less lovely fatty stuff.

    Katsuo is bonito and its dried shavings are used for the prime Japanese stock of dashi. IN this case it was a long fillet. It’s always seared on the outside, this is usually done to remove any bacteria/parasites that live on the surface, I’m assuming this is why it’s done here. BUt it’s eaten raw in the middle. Unusually it’s paired woth grated ginger rather than wasabi.

  7. KathyF’s avatar

    Are you going to be massaging any wagyu beef cows with sake while you’re there? Just wondering.

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    just massaging my liver

  9. The Daily Magnet’s avatar

    “just massaging my liver ” – with some nicely warmed saki??

    Spicey have you ever thought about pod-casting your cooking/recipes?

  10. monique’s avatar

    Hi spicee Hope you had fun in Japan.Gracianne has gone to Britanery. ahhh the strawberries look nice.mmm i love strawberries
    :-)

  11. Jonas’s avatar

    Just a heads up, Man That Cooks was listed as one of five recipe/foodie blogs in a Courier Mail article on food and the iternet today. Good stuff Anthony.

  12. Anthony’s avatar

    Hi Mon

    Yes I did. Gracianne is probabkly drinking lots of cider. These strawberries were quite the thing.

    Hey Jonas
    Cheers for the heads up, that was great to hear – good to see the foodies getting some attention.

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