Tokyo Ginza Michelin Two Star Restaurant: Tempura Kondo

Greetings from Kyoto

I have been going to Tokyo a lot recently for projects and decided to write a bit about my experiences in Tokyo. Last night my clients and I went to Tempura Kondo, in Ginza. This restaurant was honored with two Michelin stars. Sorry to say, but I wouldn’t give this place a single Michelin star. Not that I have much faith in the whole Michelin rating system.

After dinner, I realized that I hadn’t been out to a tempura specialty restaurant for a long time. I do eat tempura quite a bit with other meals and enjoy it. However, a whole meal of tempura is not enjoyable to me. I felt like I had ingested a cannonball after we finished dinner. I decided that when I eat tempura I want it to be part of the meal, a single course or so. As I write this, it is March. We have a wonderful seasonal tempura dish this season called ‘haru yasai’ tempura, literally ‘spring vegetables’. These are usually young sprouts and shoots of wild plants and vegetables and are astringent and bitter. A perfect taste to hint at the coming of spring.

So, how was Tempura Kondo? Sorry to say, but I was underwhelmed with this dinner. For the tempura, it certainly wasn’t ‘bad’ but only the final kakiage tempura donburi was yummy. My favorite course was the sashimi which consisted of some of the best ankimo I have ever had. Ankimo is steamed monkfish liver, said to be the foie gras of Japan.

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