Thursday, August 28, 2008

Teppanyaki Aoyama, Roppongi

Newish-contender in the give-me-your-lunch-dollar stakes, offering a very refined and expensive-looking environment in which to enjoy teppan lunch sets that are, I kid you not, good value for Y1400 or Y2000.

In a nice building (strange narrow concrete front, tucked away down Imoraizaka, large running water feature and spiral starecase in the dark, cool lobby. Also note that the sushi place, Matsue, is supposed to be good. Why are my parentheticals always so long?), Aoyama keeps up the standards by featuring a lot of light wood, a long counter with two teppan, and a section in between displaying some fresh-vegetable porn (you know, “look how big and green today’s asparagus are!”). The chairs are of a stuffed-and-covered (but not smothered) variety which is sort of appropriated from a French restaurant. The dishes are interesting and appropriate, the way we like them. The service, for lunch at least, is pleasant and efficient and gets things done quickly and with no fuss.

Sets appear to be the same; just choose your meat. We had the steak set; a substantial (for Japan) piece of beef, teppan’ed and sliced for you, and coming out fairly tasty, if a little tough. The hamburger set (Y1400) looked like better value and a nice burger. The sides are extensive – in addition to rice, soup and pickles, you’ll get water (which I only mention because the blue-flowered ceramic glasses were so cute!), koya tofu, moyashi/chicken sauté, and dessert (a weird, chemical-tasting lemon-ginger jelly with a piece of peeled fresh lemon. Suuuu-pa-!). Plus strange-tasting hot tea with dessert. There are also pork and chicken and seafood sets (Y1400, Y1400, Y2000), wagyu-level beef if you’re splashing out (Y3500?).

Aoyama (鉄板焼きあおやま)
Matsue Sushi

Final note: You’ll remember the Spiral Starecase, no doubt, for their smash hit “More Today Than Yesterday”, which topped out at #12 in 1969 but has sold over a million platters and remains a staple of oldies radio. Gets my toe a-tappin’ just thinking about it.

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