Dining Review: Tsujihan ZEITAKU Seafood Donburi – Tokyo, Japan
The lunch spot I wanted to hit today was for seafood donburi bowls at Tsujihan ZEITAKU. Made famous by travelers on social media, this place is very popular so we headed there arriving at the opening time of 11AM and there was already a long line. We were hoping the rain would deter people but that did not seem to be the case. All in, we waited two hours to get into this restaurant. Was this spot actually worth a two hour wait?
Once inside, the extremely quiet room is set up with ten chairs around a counter where the chef if preparing the bowls. Since the orders were taken while we were in line, our bowls were freshly made and placed at our seats within minutes. It was fun having this show of the chef meticulously creating each bowl. There are four bowls to choose from with varying levels of seafood. We both ordered the Matu bowl which had salmon roe, tuna, fatty tuna, shrimp, slam, squid, herring roe, cucumber, leak, sea urchin, and crab for 2200 yen or just over 15 USD.
At each seat there is a list of instructions on how to best enjoy the meal, including adding wasabi to the yolk mixed soy sauce that gets poured into the bowl and leaving some rice in your bowl for the sea bream soup seasoned with green shiso, Japanese ginger, edible trefoils, and tuzu. Everyone is also given two pieces of sashimi to enjoy with the soup.
The bowls were beautiful with a generous portion of rice below the mound of raw seafood. I will say it was difficult to discern too many differences in the seafood since it was all lumped together but it was so delicious. It was fun to mix everything up – the soy sauce into the seafood and rice, just worked so well as a dish. With a little left in our bowls, we asked for the soup which was generously laddled into the bowl. This soup was the most unique we had on the entire trip. It was very herby from the seasoning. As long as it took to sit down at this table, it was over in a matter of minutes. We paid our bill – cash only here – and exited back into the rain.
While I would not wait that long again for the meal, we were definitely happy to have experienced it and ate these delicious bowls. Best time that we noticed is actually after 1 or 2PM – there was practically no line when we left. They also allow for take out which we heavily considered at multiple points in our line. You do not get the experience obviously and I am unsure if you get the soup but we did see many people take advantage.