The bottom level of Maisen consists of the bar area where most solo diners are seated; and the upper level is the seated dining area. My family and I were quickly seated upstairs, and I knew exactly what I wanted.
We started out with the Korobuta Siu Mai (my parents' selection, above), which was decent, but not anything special.
My parents also shared the Katsu Don (above). While my sister went for the "regular" Tonkatsu, I went for the real deal--the Kurobota Tonkatsu! And it was perfection.
The Kurobota pork was extremely moist and flavorful, and the panko breadcrumbs had the most amazing crunch. Maisen, of course, makes their own Tonkatsu sauces. My Tonkatsu came with its own sauce, which was a big deviation from what we're used to in bottled sauces and Japanese restaurants in the U.S. I could not decipher what ingredients exactly were in their sauce, but I would imagine that it had finely grated dikon, maybe some ginger, among other things. The sauce was sweet, savory, slightly tangy, and perfectly complemented the rich and crispy katsu. This was undoubtedly my favorite meal in Tokyo.
After lunch, my family and I wandered over to the Meiji Jingu, where we witnessed an incredible part of the country's spirituality and history from the Meiji era.
We finally made our way to the heart of Harajuku, where we sampled its immensely popular crepe from one of the packed crepe shops.
Before heading back to the Tokyo Dome Hotel, we asked around for suggestions of where to have dinner, and were kindly directed to a nondescript ramen shop behind the Harajuku subway station. And, boy, were we happy to have found it! Like many ramen shops in Tokyo, there was the usual "vending machine" where customers conveniently order and pay for their ramen selections.
After you purchase your ramen, then you are seated individually in a carrel stacked in rectangular arrangements. The servers operate in the center of the carrel arrangement, and you never see their faces! (See LMC's Mama above in a carrel about to dig into her rame.) It was a very anti-social dining experience, but the ramen was amazing!
I really don't remember what I had ordered exactly, but it was even better than any of the Ramens we sampled at the Ramen Musuem. The ramen was one of the smaller noodles with a miso-based broth, a few slices of pork, and a generous sprinkle of scallions. Definitely, my second favorite meal in Tokyo--so much fantastic food all in one day!
On our last day in Japan, LMC, Pinnerton & Co. visited another must-see tourist destination, the Asakusa Namamise. After wandering around Sensoji, or the Asakusa Temple, I was excited to try some of the food vendors in the Namamise--and there were a lot of vendors!
We started with Amazake, or sweetened hot sake which is served during the winter season, then moved on to various kabidango, or sweets--they were all so good!
Finally, we took departing photos at the Kaminarimon Gate.That's it for LMC's culinary adventures and travelogue in Japan. More traveling and good eats to come!