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Grill Aoi

Review excerpt: Grill Aoi is often described as a yōshuku (Western food) joint, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. Yes, the bulk of the menu is Western-themed: steaks, hamburgers, croquettes, potato salad, fries and fried shrimp. But, as with nearly all guriru the Japanese influence is always felt whether it’s with the actual dishes (miso soup, sashimi) or the way foods are cooked. The shabu-shabu course, for example, features boiling konbu (kelp) broth to dip your thick slices of high-grade beef in.

Grill Aoi is also unabashedly kitsch. The cooks sport flamboyant white chefs hats that make them look as if they stepped out of a casting call for the Pixar film “Ratatouille”; smoking is also allowed, which some may find more retrograde than retro chic.

There is a small dining area in the back, but the best place to sit at Aoi is at the counter near the entrance, as it provides a full view of the open kitchen. Here you’ll find the restaurant’s usual patrons: regulars, office workers and, since its addition to the Michelin Guide, gourmands.