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Narikura

Review excerpt: The menu, all in Japanese and slipped inside a well-thumbed plastic file, offers several choices of pork, with cuts priced according to size and rarity. Agu pork from Okinawa is known for its “healthy” fat that melts at relatively low cooking temperatures. Kagoshima Kurobuta is rich, fattier and full-flavored. Perhaps the best place to start at Narikura is with the excellent Kirifurikogen-buta from upland Tochigi Prefecture. The meat is lighter and milder but very satisfying. If you like lots of fat, ask for rosu; if you prefer lean, then go for hire. But the rarest, softest cut is the one that Mitani calls “Chatonbriand” — a pun based on the famous Chateaubriand beefsteak, where “ton,” the Japanese word for pig, has been slotted in. Only once you’re finally inside and seated, Mitani and his team will start cooking your order. Order a beer while you wait or just sit back and watch his crew in action in the cramped kitchen, moving as precisely as a synchronized swimming team . Each tray is readied, a classic teishoku (traditional set meal) with mounds of fine-sliced raw cabbage, a serving of potato salad, a saucer of pickles and a steaming bowl of ton-jiru (miso soup with plenty of pork).