It’s a meal that can’t be taken lightly, with a flavor that is impossible to enjoy slowly.
That’s Ichioku my friends, my personal dining nexus at the center of central Tokyo.
I’m ashamed to admit that in my time in Tokyo, and of the maybe 25 times I’ve grabbed lunch at Ichioku, I have never advanced beyond my initial order. I was recommended the maguro donburi by a good friend, and knew instantly it would be hard for me to branch out. It’s simply that good.
I knew at the first bite, exactly why my friend had obsessed and continually stressed to me that I had to experience this. The tuna is coated with a memorable ginger and special spice combo that quickly approaches, if not achieves, vaunted perfect food status.
The simple rice bowl covered in a healthy layer of this spiced tuna is that transcendent kind of meal that makes you wonder what kind of damage you could do if money were no option. I’m convinced I could take down at least 12 bowls. The main stopping factor of my previous gluttonous food challenges has been a boredom with the taste. I mean, you can only have so many bites of Denny’s Oreo pie before your tastebuds wilt with an emphatic “yeah, we get it…”
But with the Ichioku rice bowl, I can assure you, I would never get bored with the taste. It would be less a mental challenge and more a question of physical limitations. How many rice bowls could I fit in my body before no more chopsticks full would go down?
Everytime I step into the ‘to-go box’ sized restaurant, my ears are reacquainted with what sounds like the same Miles Davis jam. As if upon each return I am merely picking back up where my last tuna bowl ended. It always makes for a fond return. And forever will the haunting brass strains of jazz remind me of the most perfect tasting food I have yet tracked down.
I guess that settles where I’m having dinner tonight…