While staying in Nishi-Azabu and hankering after some crisply fried Tempura (but not willing to trudge all the way to Tenichi in Ginza for some Tempura lovin’), I read about a Tempura place in the ‘hood – Buono – which serves pretty decent Tempura at bargain prices. The chef at Buono is supposed to have amassed 39 years of experience in tempura kitchens, and opened this restaurant to serve top-quality tempura at accessible prices so that everyone can experience what REAL tempura should taste like. Sounds muy bueno to me! :)
It seems pretty weird for a tempura place to have an Italian-sounding name, but they do a pretty decent job here. I opted for the Kakiage lunch set (tempura fritters mixed with seafood and veggies), which comes with rice, miso soup and dessert.
The tempura was crisp without being overly greasy, and it had pretty interesting veggies mixed into the batter such as sweet potatoes and shiso leaf which provided a nice addition to all that batter and seafood. Portions are pretty huge here, and I had to make a Herculean effort to.get.everything.in.to.my.tummeh. *waddles out of the restaurant with Tempura twins in the tummy*
I think I ended up paying less than 1,000 JPY for a hearty tempura set-lunch, which is pretty decent lunch price for a restaurant in the Nishi-Azabu area. This place definitely doesn’t do delicate, exquisite-ly battered tempura which will leave you marveling at how something deep-fried can taste so airy and delectable. But it does provide quick-fix comfort tempura, which is perfect when you are pressed for time in Nishi-Azabu and want to pop in for a quick, hearty bite!
Wherefore art thou?
Buono (map here, ~10mins walk from Hiroo station)