Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kani Honke (螃蟹本家) @ Susukino. Sapporo, Hokkaido.

Hokkaido is famous for its fresh and quality seafood; while visiting local fish markets is a must, we took the opportunity to visit one of the most renown crab specialists in Sapporo on our recent visit to Hokkaido. Kani Honke (螃蟹本家) has a few branches across Japan and the branch we visited was somewhere near to our hotel at Susukino Train Station. Approximately  a 10-minute walk from Susukino Train Station, Kani Honke is very easy to locate, due to its tall and eye-catchy signage. The english-friendly restaurant has a very useful website, with description and prices written clearly (the website will be updated frequently too). The restaurant has a few floors and we were ushered to the third floor by a hospitable staff. We were invited to a private room with traditional Tatami setting which seats up to 4 person; lunch was a resounding success and we enjoyed the meal thoroughly. A worth-dropping by place if you are in the vicinity. 

We picked Kaiseki Hamanaka (2,600 Yen) and Kaiseki Esashi (3, 150 Yen) on our lunch visit. Most of the dishes are same in both Kaiseki with one or two different dishes. More information about their set lunch can be found on their website.

A great starter- Vinegared Mixed Crab appeared to be some ordinary blanched crab and the acetic vinegar flavor did not stand out. Fortunately, the voluptuous King Crab was fresh and succulent; every single bite carried a burst of the sweet crustacean and ocean wholesomeness. Despite the absence of the acidic tilt, I thought the starter was sublime. Orgasmic starter. 

King Crab Tofu

King Crab Mozuku

The King Crab Tofu was smooth but not soft; it requires a bite or two to fully accentuate the flavors. It carried similar characteristics as the commonly seen Chawan Mushi but different in its own way. King Crab Mozuku, on the other hand, is something unique than the usual starter. The Okinawa-Seaweed was served together with an acerbic tinge of Vinegar-sauce with two pieces of King Crab meat. It was refreshing with a crunchy texture but we did not find it mind-blowing. 

King Crab Salad comes with Pickled Vegetables and Wakame/ Japanese Seaweed but the main spotlight was of course, the King Crab. Lightly dip into the Japanese Mayonnaise, it was juicy and succulent, with a slight resilient bite in texture; the gentle sweetness of the Mayonnaise enhanced instead of overshadowing the Crab. By the way, did you notice the awkwardly stood up Orange? No idea on its presence but I just tucked in happily. 

Onto the main, we had a creamy and cheesy King Crab Gratin. It was served to us piping hot, we enjoyed the texture for being silky smooth. The serving portion was just nice as we were quite worried that we might get surfeited after finishing the dish; but we were glad that everything fits in nicely. Sinfully delicious but well-worth the guilt. 

A comforting touch- Crab Miso Soup is a quintessential dish here. It was beautifully cooked with a remarkable depth of flavors that you can even taste the seafood-sweetness infused within the soup. The Miso was aromatic and flavorful; I am confident that the soup will manage to thrill those with stubborn local palate. 

Another dish that managed to steal the scene- Fried Snow Crab was lip-smacking! It was lightly battered and skillfully deep fried to a tawny crisp. We were amazed by the shattering crisp of Panko/ Japanese Bread-Crumbs and how it worked well with the Snow Crab. You will regret for not trying this dish. 

Tummy-filling dish was Large King Crab Sushi Rolls; the ingredients- King Crab Meat, Tamago and Japanese Cucumber were deftly rolled to a firm but not hard texture. It was not needy for any Shoyu, just perfect to go on its own. The only possible criticism that I could make... they were too ungenerous with the portion. 

The Chef wrapped up the meal on a sweet note with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream with Blueberry Compote. The Ice Cream was creamy and milky to my liking, it was sweet but not entirely so (saccharine sweet); beautifully complemented by the Blueberry compote for a fruitier bite. What a lovely ending. 

Taste: 8/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 9/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6.5/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Ambiance: 9/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: N/A
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: Yes Japan has 8% GST/ GST is included in the prices shown in this blog post.

Additional Information:
Address: 4-1-3, Minami 6-Jo Nishi, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo-Shi, 064-0806, Hokkaido, Japan.
Business Hours: 11:30 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: (011) 551- 0018
Kani Honeke's main website: http://www.kani-honke.jp/e

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