By Rachel Liu
Let me first say that this place is not the easiest place to find, for the simple reason that this izakaya is, in fact, 35 steps underground. However the silver lining was that the little trouble we took to find this place was totally worth it.
35 Steps Bistro is an izakaya with class and you can tell by the layout and the interior of the restaurant when you step inside. The dim and warm lighting really adds to the whole atmosphere of the restaurant. After taking off our shoes and being shown to our seats by a young friendly waiter, we were given English menus. Before we even had a chance to look at it, the waiter brought over a salad, which was complimentary with the table charge. It was surprisingly good! It was crispy, tangy and refreshing – a good appetizer to start the meal off.
We ordered the Aburi-shimesaba from their “Top 5”, which is flamed grilled cured mackerel and because it was a rainy night when we visited, we also ordered the Niku-jaga, which is a hearty Japanese-style beef and potato stew served with garlic bread and a soft boiled egg on top.
The mackerel was flame grilled at our table in front of our eyes. The meat on the inside tasted fresh and was slightly chilled while the outside was warm from the flame. It was quite an experience as it was different from the grilled mackerel that I was used to eating. Honestly, I liked this a lot!
The beef stew was just the comfort food we needed on a cold rainy night – warm, thick and flavorful. Breaking the yolk on top was so satisfying and made the stew even creamier. The chunks of beef were tender and melted in our mouths and the garlic bread complimented the stew very well.
It was unfortunate that it was only the two of us because although there weren’t pages and pages of options in their menu, there certainly were interesting items on there, such as cheese tofu and Japanese style tuna and avocado tartare served with garlic toast.
Once you’re at the Shibuya Station, exit no.3 is the exit you’re looking for. If you can’t get 35 Steps Bistro on Google Maps, look for Shibuya City Hotel because it is actually located in their basement. The staircase down to the restaurant is just next to the hotel’s side entrance. To avoid disappointment, reservations are highly recommended!
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