Warayakiya, Tokyo

Our first night in Tokyo was a relative breeze. We cleared customs quickly, caught a bus to the city in 15 minutes and didn’t get stuck in the threatened traffic jam.
We arrived at the Grand Hyatt (more on that later) surprisingly hungry given how much we ate on our flight.
Warayakiya, an izakaya place close to our hotel was the perfect place to start our trip.

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Waiters yelling in Japanese, dark smoky spaces, and huge fires are big pluses in my book.

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The grilled items at Warayakiya are cooked over straw which gives them a unique (and seriously delicious) smoky flavor. We started with grilled bonito that came with wasabi, salt, garlic, and two kinds of onions.
20140404-091006.jpgThe fish was fresh and tasty but rich enough to stand up to the smoky char that surrounded the rare interior.

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Next came some Japanese black haired beef. Oh. My. God. This was the richest beef I’ve ever had. It also had excellent grilled flavor and pretty much melted in my mouth. 20140404-090321.jpgI can’t even begin to imagine how the kobe beef we have planned for a couple nights from now will taste.
We also ordered some crunchy fried shrimp that you ate whole. I loved these. They pretty much tasted like really fresh shrimp crackers. But I did agree with the Bob that slightly meatier shrimp would have been welcome.

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In an effort not to eat only meat we ordered some tart and crunchy Japanese pickles which were very refreshing (reminder must pickle vegetables this summer) and fried sweet potatoes which were delicious and crunchy with a smooth filling, but a little too heavy for me.

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