Authentic Japanese dining in Roppongi
Japanese food in an atmospheric Japanese setting is what Mifune in Roppongi offers—and not just any setting, but one themed around the restaurant’s namesake, the late Japanese film star Toshirō Mifune. If you’re a fan, you’ll be able to appreciate various details like the actor’s family crest hung on the walls. And even if you’re not, you’ll no doubt find the restaurant’s interior, made to look like a dōjō (training hall), pretty neat.
In true Japanese style, shoes must be removed upon entry—so make sure you aren’t wearing holey socks! Seating is available at the counter, at horigotatsu-style tables (sunken areas underneath the tables provide plenty of legroom), and in private rooms ideal for entertaining guests. The menu spans a wide range of items, including sashimi and nabe (hotpots), with an impressive selection of local sake from throughout Japan (the Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjō is their most popular). A course menu is also available, with items ranging in price from ¥5,000 to 8,000.
Nabe can be ordered in portions for two or more people, and selections include a spicy jjigae, sukiyaki, a chicken broth-based mizutaki, and a chōju, or “long life” nabe containing various herbs and spices, including Chinese wolfberries. The chōju nabe’s broth is a deep red, and is made with bonito stock infused with dried shrimp and shiitake, and contains sesame, spring onions, whole dates, and rāyu, or chili oil, for a little kick. Slices of pork are cooked in the broth, and eaten wrapped around vegetables and dipped in sesame sauce. Make sure to leave some space for the shime—a choice of ramen noodles or rice added to the broth containing all the goodness from the meat.
The hakozushi, or “boxed sushi” (¥1,500), available at dinner contains seafood such as tuna, shrimp, and salmon roe along with egg, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas on a bed of vinegared rice. The dish is enjoyed with kuzu shōyu, or soy sauce thickened with kuzu starch.
Lunchtime options (¥900-1,200 on weekdays) include shōgayaki, or ginger-fried pork; sukiyaki; and hirekatsu, or fried pork fillet cutlets. When we visited, the sakana teishoku (fish set) of the week was grilled saba, or mackerel simply seasoned with salt, with a side of tonjiru (miso soup with pork and vegetables), rice, and small dishes which included tofu and hijiki seaweed. The mackerel was soft and juicy—the perfect accompaniment to the rice. The type of fish changes weekly, so each visit can offer a chance to savor new tastes.
At Mifune, you can enjoy great food in a great space. If you’re looking for a place to impress guests, or to upgrade your usual izakaya experience, this is the place to do it!
Open 11:30am-2pm and 5-11:30pm. Closed Sun. 7-18-7 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Nearest station: Roppongi. Tel: 03-6804-5548. http://mifune-project.com/en
Photo: Chōju nabe in Mifune (Photo by By C Bryan Jones)