Sunday, 23 January 2011
Revisiting a favorite udon haunt and being introduced to the newest addition to its empire
I have already waxed eloquent about the wonderful udon restaurant, Kunitoraya (the first photo on this post) about a year ago. Recently, Kunitoraya opened another restaurant (the second photo on the post) that is quite fancy, serves wonderful food, and is about twice the price.
In both restaurants, you will get a wonderful meal and smiling service, but the first one is definitely a lot more casual and is in-and-out dining. The new Kunitoraya is, in general, a total dining experience with a lovely decor and the expectation that you will pass an agreeable moment at your table. And it is best to reserve.
For dinner, you can expect to see a variety of tapas as appetizers: Japanese salads, tofu in many different forms, raw fish with lovely sauces, etc. They even serve foie gras maison and also grilled Iberian sliced pork. In addition to the à la carte menu, there are a variety of prix-fixe menus that are served at both lunch and dinner--many of which are designed around the restaurants' own home-made udon. Here, you can choose among kakiage (sliced vegetables, meat, or fish that are lightly battered and deep fried); dishes served in hot or cold bouillon and dishes made to be dipped in a lovely cold broth. At the end of the meal comes the udon.
This Kunitoraya offers donburi at lunch. This is a bowl of rice topped with fish or meat in sauce. They also make their own very chic onigiri. These are usually triangular-shaped rice patties enveloped in seaweed and featuring fish, vegetables or preserved plums that are sold in 24-hour stores. The version here is quite beautiful: two large cubes of rice are served with the fillings in mounds on top. The seaweed comes as two leaves standing between the filled cubes. To add even more variety, two nabe are served (for a minimum of two people). These are Japanese stews and there is a choice of either pork and udon or duck and udon. The omakase (chef's choice menu) is quite elaborate and creative.
Don't forget to taste some of the delicious desserts: French desserts, I might add. I had a smooth crème brulée flavored with Ho Ji Cha (a grilled tea that I particularly like).
Kunitoraya 2 is a Japanese experience at Japanese prices. But if you go there, you can count on a delicious, memorable and very pleasant afternoon or evening.