Course 1: A closed box! This was very small, like an amuse-bouche.
Course 1: Inside the box. We weren’t exactly sure what this was, but it was kind of like two small pieces of inari, topped with two little pieces of fish.
Dallas eating his first course.
Course 2: Again, not sure what all these things were, but the plate was just beautiful! Little tastes of things. The yellow was definitely tomago. Inside the tiny bowl were some vegetables and other things. The green was sort of a mochi consistency.
Course 3: This soup had shrimp, fiddlehead fern, and a square of a gelatin kind of thing that tasted like vegetables.
Course 4: Pretty sashimi! We know there was hamachi and tuna. Not sure on the other fish. There was a lot of wonder with this meal, which was half of the fun!
Course 5: Sukiyaki. Out comes a plate of wagyu beef!! Dallas was in love with this. So soft and tender, it literally melted in your mouth. I took this photo after we had already grilled some of it. There was a bit more to begin. A full plate.
The hostess came and showed us how to put the sauce on the hot griddle in the middle of our table. Then she put the beef on the griddle to show us the proper way to cook it.
Then she beat two eggs in two separate bowls and motioned to ask if we wanted egg. We both said yes. I thought she was going to grill the egg. When the beef was done, she put a bowl of raw egg in front of each of us and then put the cooked beef inside. We were kind of like “what the?” and then she motioned for us to eat! I guess you’re supposed to put the beef in the raw egg and eat it that way. I did once, then asked politely for a clean, eggless bowl.
Along with the beef, the hostess started to grill a variety of other things: Noodles, onions, mushrooms, tofu, leeks, cabbage and something that was only identified as “gluten.” We were told the gluten takes the longest to cook.
We still had a bunch of beef and assorted things to grill, so after the hostess showed us how to do the first batch, she left us to do the rest. She also left this instruction card on how to cook everything.
Then Dallas took over.
After the main sukiyaki course, I was surprised that there were a few more courses!! This is Course 6: A small cup of miso soup. There were some enoki mushrooms in here.
Course 7: A small dish of assorted pickles.
Course 8: Dessert! Hot green tea and cold mango sherbet. Dallas doesn’t even like mango (long story) and he ate it up!
At the end our hostess gave us this plastic card to bring up to the front and pay the bill.
After leaving Asakusa Imahan, we walked across the street and looked back. The restaurant’s building is huge!! There are three stories to the restaurant, which dates back to 1895.
This is the what the restaurant entrance looks like if you’re not looking from across the street to see the big signage. Note the doors. A lot of doors in Japan don’t have handles. You tap the metal strip and the doors slide open automatically.
After spending the morning walking around Senso-ji and Kappabashi Dori, we were getting pretty hungry. Dallas read about a restaurant called Asakusa Imahan that was ranked the best restaurant in Asakusa. All we really knew is that they were ranked high, they specialize in shabu-shabu and sukiyaki and that it wasn’t that far of a walk away. We were seated in the traditional tatami style, where you sit cross legged on pillows at a very low table. You must remove your shoes and if you need to walk around or use the restroom, sandals are provided for you to slip on. We were also served very traditionally by a woman dressed in a kimono and also wearing sandals. I don’t have a photograph of our hostess, but someone at TripAdvisor took this photo of theirs and her dress is very similar.
I put on my sandals and visited the ladies room after we were seated. When I got back Dallas showed me on the lunch menu what he wanted and it looked great, so I agreed. It was the Asakusa Imahan Special Lunch Gozen (Including Sukiyaki/Shabu-Shabu) and was priced at $8,400 yen ($84 USD). In the photograph it looked like a ton of food, so we figured it was enough to feed two. To be sure, we asked our hostess if it was for two, holding up two fingers and pointing and she said “yes, two” and was off.
When we were on about our 3rd course we started to realize our mistake. When we saw the quality of the wagyu beef they brought out and tasted how it literally just melted in your mouth, we knew we were paying $86 PER PERSON, not for two people. YIKES!!! That is an expensive lunch!!!!! But. Let me just say. It was SOO good. And filling. And a great traditional seating and service arrangement. We paid at the cashier stand before leaving and they gave us a goodie bag full of things. A menu for the restaurant, a guide to Asakusa, some coasters, two kites, a patterned towel/cloth. All kinds of things! I guess that’s what you get when you drop almost $200 on LUNCH! Our consolation was that when we looked up the same meal at dinner time, it was $100 dollar per person more! So, let’s just say we got a deal! And we learned a lesson :).
Aside from the surprise cost, we really liked Asakusa Imahan. If you want to get a really high quality meal and splurge a bit, but not pay the dinner costs, definitely head over here for lunch!