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Kurage: Delightful Seafood Izakaya In Shinjuku's Kabukicho [PR]


Kurage is the kind of quaint seafood izakaya that we really love. They serve excellent quality foods but everything is fairly priced. You must try their seafood, slowly grilled over a charcoal fire! The course we tried also included sashimi, wagyu beef, and anago tempura, just to name a few things.

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Kurage is a charming Japanese-style izakaya very much worth the go for a variety of reasons: the atmosphere is quaint and cozy, the charcoal-grilled seafood is amazing, the sashimi is fresh and seasonal, and you can even try other Japanese delicacies such as wagyu beef, anago tempura and a rare kind of sake.

We went to try it out so keep reading if you'd like to know more about how our experience was and all the delicious foods that we had.

You'll find Kurage in the heart of Shinjuku's Kabukicho entertainment district. It's just a stone's throw away from the famous Robot Restaurant you might have heard about.
The interior of the restaurant consists of a large L-shaped counter around the kitchen, and there are also four tables that can seat four to six people. So it's a pretty good place to go whether you're in a group or even just by yourself.
There is fresh seafood displayed at the counter so you can see what will be on the menu that particular day. You can enjoy some relatively rare fish such as this 'kinmedai' (red bream), which is probably one of the most-liked fish in Japan. Although it's a bit expensive, if you have the opportunity to taste kinmedai at a good izakaya like this one, you should give it a try.

Courses with lots of variety

There are so many interesting items on the menu that perhaps the best way to enjoy this restaurant is by having a course meal. Usually, you have to make a reservation a day in advance for courses, but they may be able to serve you certain courses on the same day as well. You just have to ask.

We tried the 'Yokubari Course,' which is the most decadent course at ¥7,000. It may seem a bit expensive but considering all the quality items you get, it's of excellent value. Also, note that there is free-flowing alcohol for two hours included in the course!

Yokubari Course details

・Sashimi platter (3 kinds)
・Seasonal salad
・Fried tofu
・Anago tempura
・Seasonal item
・Wagyu beef sirloin
・Grilled or boiled fish (the fish can be upgraded to a kinmedai for an extra ¥1,500)
・Seafood chazuke (a rice soup dish)
・Ice cream

We did order the beautiful kinmedai that caught our eye for an extra ¥1,500. The slow grilling took about 40-minutes. You can occasionally see some smoke rising from behind the counter because most of the foods here are cooked in this delicious 'sumibiyaki' style (charcoal-grilled).


The slowly grilled kinmedai did not disappoint. It's a pretty lean white-fleshed fish with no fishy taste or smell, just a light natural sweetness and umami savoriness. It was a pretty sizable fish too. You get a full fish for two people when you order the course.

Sashimi Platter

As part of our course, we got a platter of fresh sashimi that was not only delicious but also beautifully presented. What you are served depends on the season, because Kurage is very particular about its seafood. They will only select quality ingredients available at the fish market.

Anago Tempura

Have you heard of 'anago'? It's a type of saltwater eel that is popular in Japan. It's particularly well-known as one of the best ingredients for tempura because when it's cooked this way, the center remains plump and juicy which goes perfectly well with the crispy tempura coating. As expected from a restaurant that has excellent seafood, the tempura anago served to us with a tsuyu dipping sauce was wonderfully succulent.

Wagyu Beef

The general rule for wagyu is that the more marbling (streaks of fat inside the lean tissue) a piece of beef has, the higher the grade. Just by looking at the slices of wagyu beef served to us here, we could tell that this was top-quality wagyu. Just lightly cooked, it tasted sublime too.

This was one of the best items also because it comes with its own small burner on which you cook the meat yourself. Only a minute or so on each side is enough to bring this wagyu to its perfect degree of doneness. The wagyu was delicious as is, just lightly salted, but for a different twist, you can add some wasabi on it to give a sharp spicy herbal taste.

Sake and Other Drinks

Grilled fish used in the kotsuzake
As mentioned above, the course includes free-flowing alcohol. Choose from a variety of sakes, beers or cocktails from their extensive drink menu.

But if you want to try something really unusual, we recommend that you try the 'kotsuzake,' which literally translates to bone sake (this one has to be ordered as an extra). It's made by first grilling the bones of 'tai' (sea bream) before cutting them into pieces and adding them to a pot of hot sake. The result is very interesting and surprisingly good; you get the flowery fragrance of the sake combined with the savory, smokey umami of the grilled fish bones.

In closing...

The whole course has so much food that you have to go there with an appetite. However, many people choose to order whatever tickles their fancy as a la carte items, so whether you want a huge meal with lots of variety or just a couple of food items with some drinks, Kurage is a great choice. Also, they have menus in English so you don't need to worry if you can't understand Japanese.

This is really a great spot in central Tokyo. Give it a try if you have the chance!
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