Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vimon, Tokyo

Beef!!!! I've been eating too much brown rice and vegetable this week (comments about big plates of curry and burger notwithstanding. Or maybe those comments should be withstanding, and this should be themed 'hambagu week' at EOITwJ. This paranthetical has now completely hijacked the first paragraph, so let's just leave it open and go about our business.

The first time I thought about going to Vimon for lunch, I was with a semi-vegetarian (or perhaps just a fussivore, judging by the way he interrogated the staff about which items would be in the mixed lunch). As a beef specialist, it was clearly out. So was the beef tongue specialist down the hall. I do love how Japan is large and can contain multitudes like this - beef tongue in the middle Tokyo Station? I've been thinking about it since then, only I always get put off because their highest-quality-ingredients policy means that everything is a little more than you'd like. It's even more odd because this top-quality steak-and-burger place is a single store (at least as far as I can google. Maybe I should be using Bing for better results? Oooh, that's interesting - Bing actually returned the official page for the store at the top of the list, while Google didn't have it on the front page. But the official page is part of the Kitchen Street site, and it's useless compared to the Gurunavi or Tabelog pages that Google returned. However Google also assumed that I meant Viron (which is reasonable considering that it's one of my three favorite restaurants in Tokyo, and pretty amazing that the elves inside The Google knew about that!) and gave me two pre-emptive results on Viron, ahead of my real results, just in case that was what I meant.) and not part of a chain. (Yeeee-haaa! Parantheses!)

If I understand the marketing pitch correctly, they're using A3-A5 Ko-bee beef (just kidding, they only say wagyu) in cheaper cuts - for instance your options for lunch burgers are either a shinburger or a thigh & belly burger (again, this is Japanese-style burger, or 'salisbury steak' - no bun, veg, fries or ketchup). Not the bits of the kobi that one associates with steak. But hey, I like a good shin, or belly, or tail as much as the next guy. Realistically, I probably like them more. I forwent the steaks (Y2000 or Y3000) and paid up for the T&B Burger (Y1600).

When you order, they tell you "Medium is recommended, is that OK?" like you're not supposed to say no. And when it's served, they tell you not to put salt and pepper on it, cuz it's already plenty tasty and seasoned in perfect balance. I'm not really complaining about these things, but after the chef got done griddling it on his big teppan, under one of those cool steak-cookin' domes, it had a weird done-outside-but-with-a-separate-raw-core sorta consistency. Like it was cooked too fast and the heat didn't penetrate at all to the inside. Still, the meat was awful darn tasty. For the record, I do recommend putting something on it. The waitress said it was just barely acceptable to put soya bean sauce into the grated Japanese Bigroot Radish, and moisten the exterior of the burger with that, and I prefered that treatment to the al fresco method. Overall this was a pleasant diversion but nothing I'd encourage you to run out and try. You could almost have an Oak Door burger for this price, and you'd leave that experience happier on all scores.

In other news, I came across a food blog today by a guy named 'gagit' that consistently referred to the author by last name, used present tense, included gratuitous typos and grammaros, and annoyed with practically every sentence ("Gagit enters the restaurant and immediately tells the mater-de that Gagit will require excellent service tonite for himself and, his important guests"). So I'm giving up the whole royal-plural thing.
But I ain't gonna link to him!

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