Thursday, May 27, 2010
Location: 333 Henry St. BK
People: RB and myself
Feelings: Hibino may possibly be the best Japanese restaurant in the city. At least it is my most favorite authentic Kyoto style Japanese restaurant around. When my mother visited me earlier this year, she even said, "I have never expected to have real Kyoto food outside of Kyoto area." It is also conveniently located next to a stylish bar, Henry Public with 1910s-1920s revival theme.
I was craving some Kyoto style Obanzai, but on this Sunday afternoon, I felt too lazy to get dressed and walk to Hibino. We decided to do take out instead and upon reviewing their website, we found that they have quite an impressive take out menu. Surely their take out food cannot be as delicious as eat-in. If it is, this place will prove to me that it is indeed the best Japanese restaurant in the city. We waited until the opening hour, 5:30pm and made a call.
I ordered Today's Obanzai Special, Salmon Hirousu ($4, also known as Ganmodoki) and miso soup ($3). I have only tried vegetable hirousu in Japan, but I was pleasantly surprised with this new twist with salmon. Their tofu was as great as usual, and the flavor of salmon did not overpower the dish. And the miso soup! This is the real, legitimate miso soup that every Japanese grandmother in Kyoto region would make. As I had a sip, all the anxiety exited my body. As people call matzo ball soup Jewish Penicillin, this miso soup should be considered Japanese Zoloft.
RB doubtlessly enjoyed his Hibino Sushi Plate ($18, seven pieces of sushi and one Kyoto style Futomaki) saying, "I have not had good sushi for such a long time." And since when take out sushi is this great? He was also introduced to the new way to eat Sushi: Japanese mayo as dipping sauce for Futomaki, which I have done several times when I was in Japan and completely forgot about it. The tangy and creamy Japanese mayo is the perfect condiment for Futomaki. I also recommend my late grandfather's favorite concoction, mix of soy sauce and mayo dip.
Having dinner at Hibino, regardless of take out or not, brings me back more memories of Japan than actually visiting Japan. Every bite brings back the flavor that I experienced when I was growing up in Osaka. Hibino provides true comfort food for people who are from Kyoto/Osaka region.