Updated: March 27, 2019
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Mikawa Zezankyo Tempura Cuisine Made By The "God Of Tempura"

Tokyo

Tetsuya Satome is an eccentric Japanese chef often referred to as the god of tempura, nothing less! He owns the restaurant Mikawa Zezankyo on the east part of Tokyo. If you want to see what high-end tempura is about, read this article!

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Mikawa Zezankyo

tendon
Classic tempura bowl (tendon)
Tempura is a classic of Japanese cuisine nearly everyone loves. Walk through the streets of Tokyo and you'll notice that there are plenty of fast food style tempura joints serving satisfying amounts of tempura toppings on a bowl of rice (this is called "tendon") for pretty cheap. Hence, for people just visiting Japan, tempura tends to be seen as popular comfort food.
The fact of the matter is tempura, just like sushi, can be astonishingly high-end based on the quality of the ingredients and the skills of the chef.

One chef that has solidly preserved the badge of honour of tempura cuisine is Tetsuya Satome, owner and chef at Mikawa Zezankyo in Koto-ku on the east side of Tokyo.

His decades-long obsession with making the perfect tempura has earned him the title of "tempura-no kamisama" in Japan, which translates to the tempura god.
His small restaurant with merely 10 counter seats is located at the following address. It's at an 8-minute walk from Monzennakacho station.
Walking through the sliding door, the first thing that will strike you is the very unconventional decor reflecting Satome's personality.
You don't find decorative cowboy hats on the ceiling of many other high-end restaurants in Tokyo!
As for the cuisine, "sometimes, it's better to stick with tradition" could be the motto of the tempura god. His cuisine falls into the Edomae category, which means he uses the local ingredients that were available to the people of Tokyo some 150 years. Back then in feudal Japan, Tokyo was known as Edo and most of the seafood was taken from Tokyo Bay.

Another characteristic of the Edomae is that you see the chef cook your food and serve it one piece at a time.
What most people have when they visit Zezankyo is the "omakase" (leave it to the chef) course, which is a whopping ¥18,000 for dinner. You'll be served in succession seasonal vegetable and seafood tempura pieces along with some suimono, which is a simple Japanese-style soup.
One item patrons definitely look forward to is the anago (salt water eel) tempura. This is said to be the specialty of the chef. Anago tempura pieces are plump and juicy on the inside while the contrasting crispy coating makes for the perfect difference in texture.
This one is "uni", or sea urchin, wrapped in a perilla leaf, which is another highlight of the course. Uni has an uncomparable oceanic umami and they're creamy texture is heavenly. Imagine that with the perfect light tempura coating along with the fresh herbal taste of perilla. It's just the perfect tempura.

Tetsuya Satome is to tempura what Jiro Ono is to sushi in Japan. The later is sometimes referred to as the god of sushi. They are both living legends. So there you have it, if you have plenty of money to spare, you should definitely try this incredible cuisine by the tempura god!
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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