Archive for August, 2010

Tempura at Iseya in Minowa

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Doteno Iseya has been serving tempura from this lovely building for nearly ninety years. The venerable old structure is located just across the street from the entrance to the long-faded Yoshiwara district. And many a customer, before or after a night of physical pleasure in that famous red light district, sought gustatory pleasure in a bowl of tendon—a hot mound of flavorful tempura prawns, conger eel, squid, and green peppers crowning a bowl of moist glistening rice.

The tempura is Edo-style: darkly crisp and fragrant from the sesame oil it’s been fried in.

The interior has been meticulously maintained with etched glass panels depicting jumping shrimp, shoji screen panels, opaque glass lampshades, and an ancient grandfather clock ticking against the wall. The low dark wood tables have been polished smooth by countless elbows.

Tendon comes in three sizes: イ、ロ, and  ハ. The first one is 1400 yen and is basically a couple of prawns on a bed of rice. The middle choice, 1900 yen, includes some vegetables, and the last one, 2400 yen and pictured above, is a veritable mountain of tempura goodness. Make sure to order a bowl of nameko mushroom miso soup, 200 yen, to accompany the tendon.

Doteno Iseya is Tokyo as it likes to remember itself. Get there early or late to avoid the queue.


1-9-2 Nihonzutsumi. Taito Ward.

Tel: 03-3872-4886.

Monday to Friday: Lunch 11:30am to 2pm. Dinner: 5pm to 8pm.

Closed Wednesdays.

Nearest subway station: Minowa Exit 3. Hibiya Line.