Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Kushikatsu is what you get when you cross the skewering method of yakitori with the breaded and fried method of katsu (such as tonkatsu). I can just imagine some guy eating tonkatsu one day and yakitori the next and thinking: "you know what would be good? If my tonkatsu was skewered on a stick like yakitori" or perhaps he was thinking the converse "you know what would be good? If my yakitori was all breaded and deep fried like tonkatsu." In any case, when you try kushikatsu for the first time, you think: hmm, it's the same (as other Japanese food), but different. This folks, is exactly where that useful term found all over backpacking areas in Southeast Asia comes handy: same same, but different.

To prepare kushikatsu, chefs just put whatever item they can find on bamboo skewers - shrimp, beef, vegetables - then coat it with panko breading and deep fry it to golden brown perfection. You're usually served one skewer at a time so your food doesn't get cold, and a variety of dipping sauces are available.

Kushinobo was first established in 1950 in Osaka. In Tokyo, they are located on the 5th floor of the West Walk building in the Roppongi Hills complex. I'm not a huge fan of deep fried food because of its artery-clogging attributes, but the kushikatsu at Kushinobo was pretty darn delicious. I swore I would only eat 2 or 3, but ended up eating 10 or 1l skewers. Sorry, arteries, I promise to run 10 km to make up for it!

You may think you can't eat multiple skewers of deep fried food, but trust me, it goes down very easy and very quickly. Just order the omakase (about 4500 yen each), and the servers will bring you the finest morsels, one at a time. By dinner's end, you'll be surprised at how many bamboo skewers you've racked up!

Shiso wrapped ebi and Japanese beef kushikatsu

Dipping sauces for kushikatsu

Food rating: *** and a half
Bang for buck rating: 3

The essentials:
Location: 5th floor of West Walk, Roppongi Hills
Average price of dinner for two: 10,000 yen (~$110)

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