Friday, January 8, 2016

Ko-Hage-Ten Tempura - Lunch for as low as 730 yen in the heart of Ginza

The very mention of Ginza conjures up visions of designer boutiques,  high end department stores,  luxury shopping.  On a per square meter basis, Ginza still ranks as one of the most expensive real estate in the entire world.
Michelin starred restaurants, elegant bars, members-only clubs ... Ginza has all these in the warren of alleys and side streets off  Harumi dori.
It can be a little intimidating but if you know where to look, you can find a tasty lunch that can cost as low as 730 yen.

Ko-Hage-Ten is just around the corner from the glittering, glitzy Dior building.
The restaurant is small and unassuming but is popular with office and shop workers who want
a fast, easy and consistently reliable lunch.   With less than 10 offerings on its simple menu (Japanese only, no English so point to what you want) you are not exactly spoiled for choices in this "Casual tempura restaurant".

We get to Ko-Hage-Ten way past 2 pm so the salary men and the OLs (office ladies) have come and gone back to their desks.   Aside from us, the only other foreigners are a family of American tourists who judging by their (loud) conversation seemed to be happy with their meal.

Jay  ordered the assorted tempura bowl that cost just 1000 yen -- the rice came topped with a small kakiage, assorted vegetables, a generous piece of anago, prawns and a whole egg dipped in batter and fried.  Hmm, so interesting!  Egg tempura is something I have never tried before. 

When he broke into the egg tempura, it yielded a soft but not runny golden yolk.  It looked so good I nearly asked for a bite. 

I opted for the most popular choice on the menu -- the mixed tempura set. At 1180 yen, it is also the most expensive item you can order in Ko-Hage-Ten.  But hey, sometimes you just have to go big time!

My tempura set included a small morsel of tender chicken meat wrapped in a piece of green leafy vegetable then battered and fried.  Chicken was something that I have never had in tempura before.  Perhaps this is the Japanese version of a chicken nugget.

I enjoyed the broccoli floweret, still crunchy after being dredged through batter and deep fried.

How about a gingko nut -- jade green, soft and tasting almost like a roasted chestnut?  My mixed tempura set was yielding up interesting and delicious tidbits.

I think this is a thick piece of burdock root -- pickled to a sweet and salty perfection then fried up as tempura.  

I kept my little kakiage patty for last -- it was a faultless mixture of vegetables and chopped bits of shrimp and squid.  I tried to make it last as long as the rice in my bowl.

I was too stuffed and happy with my meal at Ko-Hage-Ten that I forgot to take a photo of the restaurant.   But you can't miss it -- it's just a designer bag's throw away from the Dior store.  After buying the latest "it" bag, you'll still have enough money left over for a tendon bowl at this "casual tempura restaurant" in the midst of  plush, ritzy Ginza.
Look for the Japanese characters above which you can find on the restaurant facade.

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