My husband and I have a fickle relationship with Aburiya Kinnosuke . We began our arduous journey to this midtown-east restaurant since it opened its doors in 2005 and our dysfunctional relationship is perpetual. We have vicious cycles where we vow to divorce them for their absurdly rude management and services, but their beyond ridiculously delicious food lures us back to them to reconcile every time—we are complete food sluts and stripped of not even a sliver of pride.
When you enter Aburiya, you’ll see a dark, narrow hallway that is sandwiched by partitioned private rooms with sliding doors occupied by chatty Japanese people. You’ll time travel back to the mysterious, twisted, dark, back alleys of Tokyo, where our food-ist friends take us to a tiny place where there is no signage, lost in an ethereal dream of knowing we will never find this location ever again. It’s a food-ist’s sanctuary, and only the in-the-know can disclose this place in hushed whispers.
Of course, we’re awakened from this dream by the ear-splitting greetings from the staff as they shout in their native tongue in nettlesome intonations. The shouting continues until you are seated at the bar, which is our favorite place, since it’s in full view of Aburiya’s cookery ballet.
The host will say in urgent, rough English, “You must leave by 8 PM,” and this is before we even take our coats off. Communicating with the wait staff is a challenge in and of itself. If you are lucky to be an Aburiya veteran, you might make your deadline, but if you get a newbie? We wish you all the best, because they will tell you your time is up as they drop the check in front of you. Oh, and expect a call on your mobile if you are five minutes late to your reservation. They will phone stalk you.
They even make their menu confusing as possible….
Their home-made tofu has velvety texture of ice cream….
The large Chef Salad is highly addictive….
Just out-of-the-water freshness melts in your mouth….
Grilled Oysters in Ponzu sauce is insane…..
We munch with happiness –Octopus Cucumber Kimchee
This is when you want to order like a pro–they have made to order pot rice that takes 40mins, when you order you must say–”at the end we would like the pot rice with the grilled whole fish” and repeat three times……
This is where they cook the rice to order…..
Grilled whole fish with made to order pot rice are heavenly combination–ever!
The entire staff whispers on their headsets, the manager is behind us, watching as he whispers into his headset. Now, with many divorces and reconciliations later, we’ve discovered that there are only a few ways to cope with this:
- Admit that they have the best of everything under one roof. From sashimi to rib eye steak to the best grilled whole fish. You can basically cover all the food groups and species that are absurdly spectacular.
- Ignore the staff and treat them equally rudely. Now, when we are about to be seated, we volunteer, “We know, leave by 8pm,” and give them a cold, bitchy stare.
- We are tight with the boys in the kitchen—that’s all that matters—smile (flirt) and be the best admirable spectator.
- It also helps admit that we have no pride or shame and that we are utter food whores.