One of Tokyo's greatest charms, and one of its greatest oddities, is its occasional lack of congruency. Like architectural hiccups, you often see a building where you would least expect it, completely unrelated to everything around it. Aburaya in Roppongi is like that, albeit it is more a matter of atmosphere than architecture.

Aburaya has the feeling of a small, ever-so-slightly upscale neighborhood joint. Although it has only been open a few years, it feels like a place that has been in the family for decades. It's an oasis of serenity amidst the chaos and neon of this part of town. You will forget you are in Roppongi.

The two men who stand and prepare the food behind the 15-seat counter, from which all their work is visible, are not the young, hyped-up, bursting with so much nervous energy that they twitch when not cooking or shouting kind of guys. They're mature workin' men, experienced shokunin (craftsmen) to the core. Busy, professional and traditional, they are aware of all that is unfolding around them, as their knives glide through the necessary motions.