Afterthoughts – Kobe Beef / Crab Shabu Shabu at Seryna Roppongi
I learned something new about weather this time in Tokyo – and it’s that typhoons also exist in Northern Asia whilst I previously assumed this chaotic weather is only restricted as a Southeast Asia delight. Torrents of rain and wind blew into Tokyo last Saturday night , but I refused to give up my reservation at Seryna. What resulted was a frenzied dash through Roppongi, completely soaked red leather heels, and the best crab shabu shabu dinner I’ve had thus far.
Seryna has several locations around town, and I chose the Roppongi location because it serves both beef and crab shabu shabu (some locations only specialize in one form). After drying myself off with a mountain of tissue paper, our little party of four from Hong Kong quickly got down to business with the ordering. The menu is brief and consists mostly of sets, so we all choose the set with a steamed whole kani (crab), crab fried in a half shell, and a shabu shabu with either a beef or crab option. The restaurant is old fashioned, in a 80s sort of way, a reminiscence of the old glory days of Japan.
First to arrive was an appetizer of sashimi (I’d like to say it was a red snapper) accompanied by spiral-cut cucumbers, uni, seaweed and a curious topping of Japanese mayonnaise. It was good but not fantastic, although I liked the crispiness of the yuzu sprinkled on top.
Next, came a bowl of smokey clear soup (I think the smokiness is from bonito flakes) with a delicious morsel of fish and a few slippery little mushrooms.
Followed by a delicious chilled crab – very sweet, with plenty of yellow gooey roe dripping with umami flavour. The crab was spiny and covered in hard prickly little hairs, but the shell and each leg was cut in such a way that it was a cinch to pluck out the juicy sweet meat.
The rest of the crab meat was packed into a half shell and fried with some panko crumbs. The texture was very meaty, and I enjoyed it, although the dish wasn’t memorable.
Finally we get to the star of the night – Kobe beef and kani shabu shabu. Our attentive kimono-clad server first dropped the crab legs into the bowling pot, so that the umami flavour of the crab would season the broth. It took moments for the legs to cook and float up to the surface, and fished out by our hungry group.
Next came the Kobe beef, which was so beautifully marbled with snowflakes of fat that it literally melts in the mouth.
We ordered 4 sets, so each set came with an individual portion (pictured above) of either Kobe beef or crab. The portions were more than enough to satiate us (and we had 2 big boys with us!).
Each set also had vegetables, noodles, and tofu skin as accompaniment. My favourite was the toasted mochi ball (also tossed in the broth). It was really handy to have an attendant nearby so we didn’t have to cook for ourselves!
We were supplied with a trio of dipping sauces – ponzu, sesame and my favourite, spicy scallion!
A sweet finish to a wonderful meal – chilled cubes of almond tofu.
Verdict: Awesome! It’s a fun, social meal in a smart casual environment. The quality of food is sublime and we also loved the chilled sake! I forgot the price, but I think it was around US$200 – 250 per person, so it does cost a pretty penny. But hey, if you are in Japan, might as well go all out and treat yourself!
Address: 3-12-2 Roppongi, Minatoku
Tel: 03 3402 1057