The Creme de la Creme of Fried Food in Kyoto, Japan
While planning my recent trip to Kyoto, Japan, I came across the New York Times article "36 Hours in Kyoto" and was mildly intrigued by the recommended deep-fried skewer restaurant on a dead-end lane. Expecting an hole-in-the-wall izakaya cranking out greasy sticks loaded with strange snacks, I hesitated to put Kushi Tanaka at the top of my must-do list. However, as I explored the streets of Kyoto making my way from my ryokan to the notable Pontocho alley, my instinct (or perhaps my appetite) steered me in Kushi Tanaka's direction.
Upon entering and glancing over the menu, I quickly learned that Kushi Tanaka is not an izakaya in the slightest, but rather, is the crème de la crème of fried food establishments, proudly offering a prix fixe 20 course Kushiage Ippo-Tsuko meal for ¥3,800 (about $30). With the preciseness and rhythm of an orchestra conductor, he commanded the skewers, dipping, breading, dousing, flipping, plucking and plating with an obvious expertise honed over many years in front of a fryer. The symphony that followed included perfectly crisp morsels of mochi, beef, sea eel, pork, leek, mushroom, asparagus, tofu, scallop, pumpkin, bread, corn, mackerel, quail egg, tomato, shrimp, cheese and apple (and a few more I was too excited to record)....
To read the rest of my experience with photos, visit my blog article at http://www.thebrazengourmand.com/redefining-fried-food-at-kushi-tanaka-in-kyoto-japan/.