Aoi Marushin, Tokyo.

May 2013.

Tempura appears to cover a pretty wide range of treatments and quality in Tokyo, based on our small sample of three or four places. At Ginza Ten’Ichi we were treated, and charged, like royalty, and the food was barely coated with rice flour and cold water batter. Last year, at Abe, multiple courses arrived, fewer than half of which were deep-fried, with light batter. Here, prawns and other items were coated with heavy batter, a bit soft rather than crisp, reminding us of second-rate western fish and chips, minus the chips.

We chose this place because the majority of TripAdvisor reviews raved about the food.

It’s a bit of an institutional welcome on the main floor in the busy Asakusa neighbourhood, but a somewhat cozier traditional Japanese atmosphere up on the fourth floor where we were sent. Servers are ladies in superficial traditional Japanese garb, moving quickly and in our case attempting an upsell, which in fairness could have just been a desire to see us property fed.

Our beer was perfectly nice of course, the tempura was so-so as indicated, a tempura roll sushi wasn’t palatable, with no soya available and too much overcooked sticky rice. Best of the lot was a “sweet fish” that tasted okay. About C$50 for the two of us for lunch.

Wouldn’t be going back, and were a bit surprised considering the TripAdvisor raves. Food 6.9, service 7.3, ambience 7.6, value 6.8.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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