Monday, April 27, 2009

58. Restaurant Review: K-Shiki (Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

With incredible views of Tokyo from the 38th floor, K'Shiki is a restaurant in the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It has an elegant Japanese feel, with huge windows overlooking the city.

I visited this restaurant in a group of 25, and it was strongly suggested that we order the Mandarin Lunch Set. Three members that were unable to eat seafood ordered a pizza set instead, but the rest of us never saw a menu.

The lunch was 'Asian-inspired'. First, an appetizer of raw? scallops and octopus, cut into tiny pieces and mixed together. Perhaps a dish the Japanese would really like, it was not a big hit for our American crowd. Next was a wasabi flavored cream risotto with seaweed sprinkles. I found it quite tasty, but two of the ladies close to me only had a bite.

The main dish was a choice of roasted tenderloin or sea bream in a rice cracker coating. Both of these entrees were excellent. For dessert we had some vanilla bean ice cream and a fried wonton stuffed with chocolate. Everyone liked the ice cream (of course), but the wonton with chocolate was not that tasty. We also had a choice of tea or coffee.

Considering that the Mandarin Oriental is a major international hotel chain, I think they should have thought twice about recommending this set to our group. Americans are not known for having adventurous palettes. I have lived in Japan for 11 years, and even I wish that I had been given a different choice.

Service was excellent, although I felt there was too much of a gap between when we finished and when the desserts and coffee/tea arrived. Also, when asked if we preferred separate checks, we said 'yes'. I don't think they anticipated a 'yes' and there was quite a bit of commotion. We did get our separate checks, though.

The Mandarin Lunch Set was 3500 yen with a 10% service charge (a 5% consumption tax was already included). I will never understand why there has to be a service charge. Almost nowhere else in Japan is one ever included. I always feel cheated when foreign hotel chains insist on this practice. Since we had just completed a tour of the spa and they were courting our business, we did receive a 10% discount on our meal. That took care of our service charge, but everyone else in the restaurant still had to pay one.

I also ordered their least expensive glass of wine (1400 yen). One coke was ordered (900 yen). With drink prices so high, our other 23 members just drank water.

Although the view was magnificent, I doubt I will eat here again. I may, however, bring guests from overseas to the hotel. Perhaps we'll have better luck at one of the other restaurants, or maybe we'll just have drinks. For those who don't want to spend a lot of money for the view, just stand in the lobby. Or, even better, go to the bathroom. Definitely one of Tokyo's best free views of the city!

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