I Survived Fugu
By Lisa Hong
Welcome to Tora-Fugu Tei, a restaurant serving the elusive and deliciously deadly blowfish, or “Fugu”. Get comfortable amidst the polished wood, dim lights, and Japanese “Omotenashi”. Order the Prix Fixe option and then set aside the menu. Trust the chef, who is specially licensed to cut this potentially poisonous fish, to take care of you.
Start with Hire-Sake (750 yen), which is flavored with charred blowfish fin. The server will light it up in front of you as you squeal at the flames. The Sake is warm and smoky – really gets your appetite going!
My family and I ordered the Oyogi-Tora-Fugu prix fixe course (5,500 yen per person). The flavors, textures, and overall experience of the dinner were well worth the risk of death-by-blowfish.
Here is a look at our meal:
Kawa-sashi (Fugu skin sashimi with green onions and ponzu. A refreshing starter. The skin has a tough jelly-like texture that goes well with the crunch of the onions)
Oyogi-Tessa (Thinly sliced Fugu sashimi. Delicate and perfect!)
Fugu actually has very subtle flavor and aroma. Eating the fish is more about the texture as it is prepared in different ways (raw, grilled, boiled, etc). Each dish is highlighted by the seasoning that the chef chooses.
As you dine in Tora-Fugu Tei, you get so lost in the meal that any hazard warning you know becomes hearsay. Contrary to belief, my family and I did not experience any kind of numbness or tingling. The only thing we felt were bursts of excitement with each bite and yelps of “Ooooishiiii!”
Tora-Fugu Karaage (Deep-fried Fugu pieces. Lightly-salted, crispy yet juicy, with a lot of meat on the bone)
Sumibi Yaki-Fugu (Fish that you grill right at your table. A perfect time to order more Sake as you wait for the pieces to cook)
Fugu Shime (End-of-meal rice porridge with egg, seaweed, and remaining pieces of fish that the chef was able to carve out. A satisfying way to bid adieu to your amazing Fugu dinner)
As we were served our dessert (green tea ice cream topped with sweet red beans and mochi), we clamored about how this was one of the most unique, tasty, high-quality, and beautiful meals we had ever experienced and how we could only get this in Japan! Don’t leave without thanking your one-of-a-kind chef, and walk out with your belly full and head high, for you survived Fugu!
Offers both Prix Fixe and A La Carte options. Menu may change depending on season and availability.
Several locations in Tokyo including…
Shibuya (King Bldg. 1F, 5-6 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, TEL: 03-3462-7929)
Shinjuku (Metro Bldg. B1F, 2-11-7 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, TEL: 03-3209-2919)
Ueno (6-7-13 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, TEL: 03-5688-7829)
Ginza (Kotobuki Bldg., 7-2-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, TEL: 03-5568-7729)
More locations found on their website