Restaurant Shiba Tofu-ya Ukai 4 Chome-4-１３ Shibakoen Minato, Tokyo 105-0011 Japan Published on: 09-03-2016
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Why Tofuya Ukai is special ?
What distinguishes Tofuya Ukai from other restaurants of this ilk is that they produce all their own tofu. It’s made at their own in-house workshop in Owadamachi, in the foothills of the Okutama mountains behind Hachioji. The beans are grown in Hokkaido; the local water is famous for its purity; the tofu is made and delivered daily.
The menu is seasonal, changing every two months. Here are some of the highlights of our recent nine-course lunch.
Must try dishes:
Age-dengaku: Thin strips of deep-fried tofu (abura-age), grilled over charcoal and basted with a special sweet-savory miso sauce. Prepared in the thatched grill house visible in the center of the inner garden, this is delivered to the table in stacks of handsome boxes of red lacquer. The squares of golden abura-age are warm and crisp, their flavor hinting lightly of the charcoal grill. These are slivers, barely even a couple of bites each, yet their simple subtlety lingers in the memory.
Tosui-tofu: The house special is a chunky ceramic nabe hot pot heated over charcoal in the center of the table, containing blocks of smooth tofu in a thick white soup of soy milk, and topped with fresh-made soy-milk skin. The soup is so rich with dashi stock that no extra seasoning is needed, and the tofu slips down like a smooth, savory custard.
Otsukuri, the sashimi course: A few slices of market-fresh fish, perfectly accompanied by a flask of chilled sake. Recommended is the supremely fragrant Kariho Daiginjo — an elegant, expensive brew, totally appropriate to the setting.
The hassun course: Seasonal tidbits, beautifully arranged to highlight the artistry of the kitchen. The standouts here were delectable morsels of wagyu beef from the Ukai ranch in Hyogo Prefecture, simmered with ginger (think gyudon for the gods); and wild fuki (butterbur) stems, steamed and anointed with a white shira-ae dressing, the gently fibrous texture balanced by the creamy mix of tofu and white miso.
- Beautiful Restaurant
- Serenity at the center of Tokyo
- Great tourist trap
- Very impressive toufu
- Awesome food, beautiful setting
- Noise level Normal
- Budget High-end
- Alcohol YES
- Air condition NO
- Had kid menu NO
- Accept credit card YES
- Serve breakfast NO
- Serve halal NO
- Serve vegeterian YES
Shiba Tofu-ya Ukai 4 Chome-4-１３ Shibakoen Minato, Tokyo 105-0011 Japan
Tips for you
The setting is truly beautiful, in the gardens under tokyo tower. When we went it was raining heavily but nonetheless staff waited outside the restaurant doors to welcome and usher guests with umbrellas. Truly inspiring and still interiors you feel like you have stepped back in time. Food is delicate in flavour, and every dish has some tofu in one way or another. But not to say it is only tofu as there are included sashimi, fish, rice and other dishes in the menu as well. This is a magnificent house with plenty of private rooms and in spite of its size you don't feel like or even see the crowd of other guests. Privacy is very well maintained. A beautiful way to spend an afternoon. I left my phone behind and they were kind enough to trace me back all the way to my hotel.
We had an AMAZING wedding reception there in 2011 and since then Tofuya Ukai has been a very special place for us. We go there every year for our anniversary and always are impressed by their hospitality. Although it is located in the center of Tokyo, next to the Tokyo Tower, once you step inside the gates you find yourself in a gorgeous Japanese garden with trees and Koi ponds as well as traditional sheds where they cook the deep fried tofu. Do not forget to stop by their store to pick up their deep fried tofu and sauce!
Great place to bring any first timers to Japan/Tokyo. Sure it's a bit touristy but it's a great way for visitors to experience Kaiseki dinning without going to Kyoto. Food is good but not great and takes a back seat to the view and overall experience