Cold Tonsoku with Ponzu ($4)
Thinly sliced, pleasantly chewy, and surprisingly light, the first tonsoku dish was elevated with a well-balanced and fresh ponzu sauce scented with yuzu and dashi broth. It's a good introduction to the pork foot that runs through the meal to come.
Grilled Mentaiko ($5)
Mentaiko (spicy salted pollock roe) is one of my favorite foods of all time, and it's grilled perfectly here. LIghtly charred on the exterior but cool in the center, the only thing I could think of to improve its salty bite would be a bowl of rice.
Foie Gras Inarizushi ($10)
Foie sushi? Well, yes—and it's delicious. A pouch of fried tofu skin is stuffed with vinegared sushi rice mixed with bits of fatty foie and topped with a thin slice of seared liver. The foie slices are rather meager, but you can't ask for much for at $10. With a sweet soy and mirin-based tare, the dish is strongly reminiscent of fatty freshwater eel sushi, not a bad thing.
Grilled Motsu ($10)
The grilled small intestine of American Kobe beef, this is not a dish for the offal-ly uninitiated. Well seasoned, crisp on the outside, with a creamy and distinctly flavored center, it's served simply with sliced scallions and a hefty scoop of spicy roe.
Mentai Fried Chicken ($9)
Extraordinarily tender and juicy inside, the semi-boneless wings are fried Japanese-style with a dusting of corn starch and flour. The miso butter they're tossed with is only mildly spicy. Add some of the yuzu-pepper paste or hot sauce from the table to kick it up.
Hot Pot ($13 per person)
A rich and spicy pork collagen-based broth comes to the table piled impossibly high with Berkshire pork belly, tender trotters, soft tofu, juicy pork-filled dumplings, cabbage, and Chinese onions which simmer down to a thick stew.
For Pork Lovers Only
The broth in the hot pot is insanely porky and only gets more so as it simmers down. We couldn't manage any more, but upon request, a hot bowl of freshly cooked ramen noodles will be brought to your table to finish off with the broth.
Soba Crème Brûlée ($7)
Buckwheat-flavored crème brûlée is an interestingly savory rendition of the french classic. It comes with a side of rich black sesame-flavored ice cream (also available for $4 a la carte) that is excellent, though not the best in the city—that honor is reserved for the version at Zenkichi.