English Reviews (Reviews Total Language : 22 reviews)
“Authentic Cultural Cuisine of Tokyo”
I was recently in Tokyo for a few days on my way back from a work trip. After reading about and seeing chanko-nabe being prepared and eaten on Anthony Bourdain's Cook's Tour, I had to try it. I was met by a couple of skeptical looks from my travelling companions- they were used to the standard fare... of sushi, ramen, or other fast-paced meals. But I told them about the history of chanko, who eats it (the rikishi wrestlers), how it's eaten (communal hot pot), how it's prepared (by the lower ranking wrestlers under strict guidance by the sumo master) and they were curious. What we experienced at this restaurant exceeded all of my expectations. With what little Japanese I knew, I ordered the nabe with a glass of fugu fin sake. The sake was served hot and flaming-which was a cool presentation, but I think I may have given my waitress a brief heart attack when I started drinking before removing the fins! Do that first, if not for your own sake (I doubt the fins have any venom to begin with), then for your server. The hot pot was a beautiful presentation of fish, meatballs, tofu (fried and regular), mushrooms of all types, konyakku noodles, and miso broth. Our server tended to the soup while it cooked with a kind of care that made us at the table watch with a silent awe. When it was ready, the server left us to enjoy the meal. It was fantastic-the flavors of the mushrooms and meats blending together with the broth to create something unique and flavorful. We (by we I mean mostly "I") ate it all. It was truly delicious. We were the only foreigners in the restaurant and we made a real effort to speak to our servers in Japanese and show our gratitude-which I think left a good impression on our hosts. At the conclusion of our meal, our chef/former sumo champion came to greet us, which I thought was the best part of the experience. In broken japanese, I explained that I had heard about chanko in the States and as a former wrestler (Greco-Roman) myself, was excited and honored to try a sumo meal. We exchanged handshakes, took pictures, and thanked each other before leaving. I would recommend this place to anyone who happens to be in Tokyo and want a cultural and different culinary experience than what most would have in Japan. I would also advise anyone coming here to make an honest effort in speaking the local language, which went a very long way with establishing a relationship with our hosts. They tried to meet us halfway in English, which made the experience fun and all the more memorable.
Visited April 2017
“Casual restaurant with terrific Japanese atmosphere”
The owner/chef of Chanko Kuroshio is a former sumo wrestler. Sumo wrestlers have to learn how to cook. I’ve heard that this one was a better cook than wrestler. We benefit because he gave up sumo and opened this small restaurant in the Kagurazaka area of Tokyo. I’ve been there several times with a g...roup of Japanese friends. They do the ordering, but the menu has photos of the food, so you’ll be able to order even if you don’t read Japanese. We always eat lots and drink lots. The featured items are various fugu dishes and chanko nabe. Fugu is the fish that if it’s not prepared correctly, you die, but don’t worry about that. The chef is a certified expert, and what he serves is safe to eat. “Nabe” is a one-pot meal cooked at the table, and “chanko” refers to the special one-pot meals that sumo wrestlers eat. In many restaurants, you get the pot, a hot plate, and a platter of food, and you have to make the decisions about what goes in when. Here, the items are already in the pot when it gets to your table. You just wait for it to get done, and then eat. After you’ve eaten all that you can from your nabe, ask for “zoh-sui”. To make that, the chef takes the delicious soup in your nabe that’s had many kinds of great stuff cooked in it, and adds rice and a beaten egg. It comes back to the table in individual bowls. Wonderful! Japanese think fugu is fantastic. I’m an American, and there are a lot of other fish that I find tastier. But if you haven’t had fugu, this is a chance to try it. The chanko nabe is terrific. We also had “katsuo tataki”, which is the sashimi that is, in my opinion, as close as you can get to steak and still be fish. It comes as a salad, with a tasty sauce and lots of chopped onion on top. I love it! Our group always orders hot sake with a fugu fin in it. It’s served in a sake cup with a cover. You take off the cover, use the lighter they give you to light the alcohol fumes, and put the cover back on while the fire dies down. When you’re ready to drink it, you take off the cover and remove the fin from your cup. Try it! We tend to go to this restaurant on busy evenings, such as Christmas Eve. So far, we haven’t needed reservations, even though we’re usually eight or ten people. The restaurant is busy, but there’s always been an empty table. The restaurant is noisy, but not annoyingly so. It’s noisy enough that we were comfortable making our own party-related noise. The restaurant’s decorations feature photos and other mementos of the owner’s sumo career. If someone in your group speaks Japanese, the chef will come out from the kitchen area and chat with you. I wish he spoke English! The tables have a “well” for your feet, so even though you’re sitting on the floor, you feel as if you’re in a chair at a regular table. The restaurant is located just off the main street that goes through Kagurazaka, about 5 minutes’ walk from the B3 exit from the Kagurazaka station on the Tozai subway line or the Iidabashi station (many train lines, including JR). Go up the small street next to Bishamon Temple, which is on the other side of the street from the B3 exit. The web site has photos of the exterior. It’s easy to find. Although the web site is only in Japanese, there are lots of photos of the food and a Google maps tour of the restaurant interior. Even if you’re not thinking of eating at Chanko Kuroshio, look at their web site. Click the vertical bars at the top right of the top page to see what’s there. The restaurant is usually (but not always) closed on Sundays.
Visited December 2016