Ukai-tei is one of the 3 Michelin starred restaurant we visited in Tokyo, and was the only one that served lunch. Lunch service is usually less expensive than diner service, so opting for lunch allows us to experience more high end restaurants in our travels. So whenever there’s an option for a lunch meal, we’ll prefer it.
This restaurant is part of a chain in Japan, that specializes in Teppanyaki – Japanese cuisine that makes use of an iron griddle to cook food. We reserved our seats for the Omotesando branch, which is located at the top floor of the Chanel building in Harajuku.
As we were escorted to the main dining area, we could not help but admire the impressive and beautiful decor which radiates a sense of time and Japanese history. The restaurant’s pillars and beams, made from 100-year-old Japanese zelkova and were originally used in a merchant’s home in Kanazawa 150 years ago.
The seats in the main dining area are arranged in an arch around the teppanyaki bar with their backs to ceiling-high windows which offer light and breathtaking view of the city.
There are three lunch options: Tenderloin – ¥7020 per person, Steak – ¥9720 per person and “Special” – ¥12,960 per person, each offers 4-5 dishes, in addition to desserts and coffee\tea. We chose the Steak Lunch Course since we really wanted to taste the Ukai Top Quality Beef Steak. Ukai-tei ask that each member of the party orders the same lunch option. This is due to the fact that the chef prepares the meal right in front of you. We would have loved to taste two different course but it is totally understandable.
First appetizer to arrive was the Small Prawn Marinated in Jelly.
The second appetizer was Chestnut Cream Soup, which had a precise taste, a full body and a soft creamy texture. Sweet but not overly sweet.
Next up: Red Seabream Sauted. The unique thing about teppanyaki is that the meal in its entirety is cooked before your very eyes. You get to see the chef prepare the ingredients, cut, cook and plate from start to finish.
And the star of the show: Ukai Top Quality Beef Steak. This steak is made from Wagyu beef, which literally means Japanese beef but in fact means beef of the highest quality. The beef is highly marbled and so soft you can cut it with a spoon. The chef lightly seasoned it before grilling it and presenting each of us with his portion. The taste was simply exquisite. Soft, juicy, and unlike any other steak we’ve tasted before and since. Just looking at the pictures makes me long to bite my teeth into one of these.
The last dish was simply called “Meal” and it included: Garlic Fried Rice, Miso Soup and Tea. Simply and tasty.
After finishing our lunch, we were invited to the salon area to enjoy desserts and coffee in a more laid back fashion. A cart was wheeled to us baring all sorts of sweet goodness and we were asked to pick as much as we wanted. We felt it would be rude to pick the cart empty so we only picked one of almost everything.
If that wasn’t enough we also had to pick two desserts from the menu. We went with Chiffon Cake and Mont Blanc, which were both delightful.
We had an amazing time at Ukai-tei. For the price we paid for the meal I would claim it’s a pretty great deal, given the top quality ingredients and the large amount of food served. We left Ukai-tei feeling like we made the right call.