One place that a couple of people recommended that Jenkins and I check out while we were in Tokyo was Gonpachi. Located in the Rappongi ward of Tokyo, Gonpachi mainly an izakaya but the top floor houses a slightly more upscale sushi restaurant. Originally, Jenkins and I ended up in the sushi restaurant because the signage was a bit unclear as to the entrance but we were quickly redirected to the izakaya on the ground floor.
One of Gonpachi’s claim to fame is that its interior served as the inspiration for the restaurant fight scene in the Kill Bill Vol. 1 movie. Based on this fact alone, Jenkins said we should try to visit the restaurant while we were in Tokyo. We were seated at the bar and looking around us, we could easily see the similarities between Gonpachi and the restaurant in the Kill Bill movie.
Jenkins and I arrived at the restaurant fairly early (right at 6PM) because we were unable to make reservations so we wanted to eat dinner before the regular crowd arrived. Partly due to that fact and the fact that we had been eating all day, we kept our meal fairly light.
One of Gonpachi’s specialties is the yakitori grilled right on their huge charcoal grill which took up the main cooking space of the restaurant. We decided to order a couple of the negima (chicken grilled with our choice of soy sauce or salt) and tebasaki (chicken wing). Interestingly, our two choices were combined onto one skewer. The chicken was very juicy and we could really taste the charcoal flavour from the grill. Even the negima, which was grilled without its skin, retained a lot of its natural juiciness and the soy and salt served to accentuate the chicken’s natural flavour. I should note that even though we chose a combo of soy and salt, it was hard to differentiate them.
We were also feeling a bit guilty that we hadn’t been eating as many vegetables as we should so we also ordered some veggie skewers, which included shishinto peppers, radishes, tomatoes, gingko, and eringi mushrooms. The veggie skewers also retained a lot of its natural juices and I especially enjoyed the shishinto peppers and the gingko beans. The mushrooms were also quite tasty and had a meaty texture.
We also ordered the takana meshi, which was rice and pickled mustard leaves served in a hot stone pot. The rice was perfectly made and slightly dry so the hot stone pot created a nice and crunchy crust after we let the rice sit for a bit. The mustard leaves also provided a bit of a crunch and along with the bits of seaweed, flavoured the rice well.
Jenkins and I wrapped up our meal with the Gonpachi agedashi tofu. We weren’t really sure what to expect but since the menu promised that it was served Gonpachi-style, we were somewhat intrigued. The tofu came coated in a very light crust and drizzled in the typical tentsuyu broth. I really liked the enoki and oyster mushrooms that accompanied the tofu. There was some runny egg white on top which seemed odd at first but seemed to add an interesting texture to the dish.
Jenkins and I quite enjoyed our meal at Gonpachi. It was a lively and fun atmosphere watching the chefs at work was a really interesting experience. The food was slightly more expensive than Tengu but we really enjoyed being able to say that we ate at the Kill Bill restaurant.
1-13-11 Nishi-Azabu Minato-Ku, Tokyo
There are locations all over Tokyo but the one we visited is the most well-known.