Monday, April 27, 2015


Location: Kurobatei

Rating: Excellent
Meal:  Dinner for 6 adults and 2 children
Price:  26,000 yen
Payment:  Cash only
Dishes: Tuna Head, 2 Sashimi platters, 2 roasted meat platters, drinks
English Menu: Uncertain (probably not)
Smoking: Didn't notice any

Kurobatei is legendary.  I ate here once before when a friend took me.  It was truly amazing.  They specialize in tuna dishes, specifically the stuff most people don't cook.  The entire town of Misakiguchi, located at the southern tip of Miura Peninsula where we all live, is tuna crazy.  They have one of the biggest tuna ports and markets in Japan, probably only surpassed by Tsukiji in Tokyo.  So there is much delicious tuna to be had here.

 But what makes Kurobatei extra special is that they will cook  the entire tuna head for you if you pre-order it a couple of days ahead of time.  This is a truly massive head and can feed several people.  There are many types of meat available, from the white, dry meat on top of the head, to the dark, steak-like meat of the jaw, to the soft, fatty tissue of eyes and brain.  It is an incredible feast, and incredibly expensive (14,000 yen).  But definitely worth doing at least once.  Unfortunately, you will need to have someone who speaks and reads Japanese to arrange the reservation for you, and possibly to order additional dishes once there.  It's not the most friendly to foreigners place, but they do seem to be willing to work with you.  Luckily we had some friends from work who wanted to go and their significant others were Japanese and could handle the reservations.

In addition to the head, we had sashimi and kalbi (roasted meat) which was also excellent.  I left stuffed, but I wish I had had a spoon to go digging in the big bowl and slurp up the juices in the bottom after we had decimated the head.  It is good to have done the head, but now I want to go back and try all the other dishes we saw other people eating!


As I told more people about the experience I realized I should probably put some of those details up for others interested in going.  One thing was the bizarre ritual that the head cook did before cutting up the tuna head.  It was some weird shouting thing involving a huge necklace of wooden beads, mumbling, and possibly imparting the spirit of the tuna to us.  I did not expect this so was caught rather off guard.  I'm not sure if you can ask for this to be left out or not, but if you have issues with that sort of thing, you might want to mention it.

Also, it's not a large restaurant.  There are maybe 15 bar seats and then a tatami area with 4 or so tables.  We had 2 put together for our group.  There's no space for your feet to go under, so you will have to be able to sit on the ground for a long time.  I am not good at this, so it was a bit of a challenge to get through the entire meal without shifting every few seconds.  If we go back, we'll be sitting at the bar for sure.

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