Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tim and Karen's report Fukube-shabu shabu@Mishima-

I am an Australian who has been lucky enough to live in Mishima and Numazu for nearly 4 years.
I was given the chance to sample some of the areas first restaurants and would like to share my experiences with you. I went to only Japanese style restaurants in the hope to introduce this unique, traditional and delicious style of restaurant to people from all over the world.
Fukube is situated in a nice Japanese style building about 10 minutes by car from the South side of Mishima Station. There is a nice Japanese garden along the path to the door that gives the impression that you are going to have a traditional style meal. Once inside, you are greeted by an impressive selection of shochu (a Japanese spirit that tastes a bit like half-strength vodka) and a smiling waitress welcoming you.

We were shown to a private area where you sit on the floor to eat, but were also offered the choice of another table with chairs – which we happily accepted. We ordered the 6,000 yen per head ‘Shabu Shabu’ course, which features the famous Japanese beef ‘Ashitaka’. The name Shabu Shabu refers to the way you eat the dish by dipping or swishing raw beef into a boiling pot of water and vegetables.
On our table was a large hotpot that held a clove of garlic, some ginger and a piece of kelp in it, and as we waited for the water to boil we enjoyed the small bowl of pickles that were served.
When the plates of beef arrived we were impressed by the amount and the obvious quality of the highly marbled rib roast steak. Once the water was boiling we put some of the vegetables and other accompaniments to the beef in the hot pot. These included tofu, three types of mushroom, clear noodles, white radish and Chinese cabbage. We were served 2 dipping sauces for the shabu shabu; ponzu – which is a slightly citrus tasting soy sauce, and a sesame dipping sauce.

Our first taste of the beef made us realise why it is so famous and expensive. It was unbelievably tender and delicious! I preferred it dipped in ponzu, while my partner preferred the sesame sauce. The vegetables and tofu were nice as well, but paled in comparison to the beef. One small thing that surprised us was that we were not served any rice to go with the shabu shabu.
Towards the end of our meal we were offered a choice of udon or chinese noodles. We asked for udon, but were given the chinese noodles (we think) which was an example of how the service was generally not very good. We were offered little in the way of explanation about the food or the way to cook it, and were only asked if we wanted something to drink once.
Dessert was nice, a not too sweet and refreshing orange sorbet, but it was spoilt by the fact that although our plates and hot pot had been cleared away, the waitress failed to wipe down the table which after all the swish-swishing of the meat had become quite messy. Although the restaurant was not busy at all, we felt the service was minimal, and that we should hurry off as soon as our meal was finished. Certainly, we did not wish to linger over the messy table.

Overall, the meal was quite good but the service was not what you would expect at a relatively expensive restaurant like this.

Address:4-17, Minami-cho, Mishima
Budget:Lunch 2,000 yen Dinner 10,000 yen

Tim and Karen's review

Overall evaluation:
Value for money:

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