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Tokyo, Day 5: Pasta & Fried-Pork Feast

On this trip I'd planned to limit myself to just Japanese food, which is like saying I'm limiting myself to the book collection at the New York Public Library. But after saying good-bye to Pratt, who flies back to New York today, I spend the morning wandering through the Tokyo Midtown complex and run into chef Michael Romano of New York City's Union Square Cafe, who is in town training staff for its new Tokyo spin-off. Union Square Tokyo joins the city's ever-expanding collection of restaurants from dozens of American and European star chefs, from the outstanding local branch of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon to outposts from Alain Ducasse, Gordon Ramsay, Michel Troisgros and Pierre Gagnaire. I can't resist sitting at Union Square Tokyo's bar—maybe I'm a little homesick—to lunch on one of Romano's pastas, and I'm not sorry when he brings out a bowl of capellini with a bright, zingy sauce of anchovy, fresh tomato and lemon zest. Taking a break before the dinner rush, Romano walks me over to his favorite tonkatsu restaurant, Katsukura, in nearby Roppongi Hills. Our late-afternoon meal (early dinner for me, lunch for him) is juicy fried pork from Yamagata topped with tomatoey, soy-spiked tonkatsu sauce, and a cabbage salad with yuzu dressing; Romano and I each buy a bottle of the dressing to take home.

Day 6: Classic Pork, Hipster Hub

Back to main Tokyo Now story

Published February 2008
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