Nishi-Azabu: Izakaya
Teyandei (Nishi-Azabu: Izakaya)
Sun: Open Sundays
decor: Notable decor

This is a comfortable neighborhood izakaya that serves terrific food. The two-story shop occupies a converted private house on a quiet back street (a few minutes north of Roppongi-dori), with decor that veers toward the traditional end of the scale. Traditional, but never stuffy - the friendly, upbeat staff set the tone, and their enthusiastic shouts and the celebratory sounds from the upstairs party space create a lively auditory backdrop.

The focal point of the shop is a massive central counter, lined with big black jugs of shochu, and this is the place to soak up the full atmosphere of Teyandei. (There are also a few tables and a medium-sized tatami room off to the side.) Behind the counter is a grill area bounded by thick concrete walls, where much of the main cooking action takes place. The menu covers all the bases of the modern Tokyo gourmet charcoal grill - free-range chicken, small-farm raised "kurobuta" pork from Kyushu, and fresh Hokkaido seafood on the seasonal menu. Creative salads and serious tofu dishes round things out, and they even offer a smattering of desserts.

The cooking here is simple but thoughtfully conceived. For example the excellent fried scallops - juicy on the inside, with a light and crunchy coating - reach perfection thanks to just a splash of salty anchovy sauce. The grilled chicken with scallions would have been fantastic even without the homemade sesame dipping sauce, which brings it to another level. And the spicy cabbage salad gets an exciting crunch from the deep-fried tiny jako fish mixed in with the nori and scallions.

Other menu highlights inclue the succulent "kurobuta tsukune" (somehow the term "pork meatballs" doesn't do this dish justice), and the smoked, charcoal-grilled salmon (often to be found on the seasonal menu). There are only three regular sakes (Harushika, Kuroushi and Dewazakura) and another three rotating seasonal choices, but we happen to enjoy most of their selections with this food. There's also Yebisu beer, cocktails, wine, and the usual trendy-izakaya line-up of gourmet shochu brands.

Budget around Y2500-4000 per person for food and drinks; there's also a very attractively priced party plan wherein Y2500 per person will get you a huge feast. Teyandei also has popular branches in Omotesando and the Sakuragaokacho section of Shibuya.

by Pam Castle
Minato-ku, Nishi-Azabu 2-20-1.
Tokyo Beyond Sushi - the guidebook
Tokyo Beyond Sushi
Explore the hidden side of Tokyo dining
Charcoal-grilled pork on skewers, udon noodles in curry-flavored soup, octopus dumplings, deep-fried beef cutlet -- there's a whole world of exciting food in Tokyo that food-loving visitors often miss out on.

This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From Bento.com.
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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended