Wowwww it’s been a while, hasn’t it? With lots of work craziness and the 4th of July holiday, I’ve gone a bit silent. But I’m back and here to tell you about one of the best meal experiences I’ve had in quite some time. I’ve wanted to go to Tokyo Record Bar for a couple of years but with only 18 seats, it’s tough to get a rezzy. Thankfully, my beau snagged an 8:30 seating and I was able to have a belated bday celebration.
First, let me explain how it works: the vinyl jukebox dinner lasts 1.5 hours at specific seating times. You enter through champagne bar Air’s (more on that in a later post) and enjoy a $50 prix fixe meal set to a custom playlist of records chosen by the guests. (FYI: I chose “Jolene”)
The concept itself is super cool and interesting and the food is equally so. When we sat down there were a few snacks on the table (nori pretzels, togarashi popcorn, and spicy fermented cucumbers). From that moment, I knew they weren’t messing around and decided to go all-in – time for a sake pairing.
They have a nice sake menu and a sake sommelier to explain it all. I loved how the sakes were each named by their unique flavor profiles. We tried Apricot, Caramel Apple, and Grapefruit. Somehow, the really did taste like those items. We also tried a sake collab with the band Phoenix. All the sakes were great and were served in full glasses so you got your money’s worth with the $42.
The first course was an oyster topped with kimchi gremolata. It loved this topping – a nice riff off a mignonette – but what else can I say about oysters? If you like them, this is a good one.
Next we had a jumbo seared sea scallop that was sliced so it could be shared. It was topped with yuzu koshu remoulade. I got no idea what koshu (?) is, but I know I enjoyed this perfectly seared scallop.
The tuna over crispy fried rice looked at the famous dish from Koi and laughed in its face. When you have such jewel-like tuna, you don’t need to chop it up and add spicy mayo. And the rice, though crispy, was light and almost air-puffed.
The lettuce in the caesar salad was shredded and I loved what that did for the texture of the dish. I’m a big fan of a well done caesar and this was a good one. Nothing crazy, just good.
For the main course, we shared a large bowl of steak and peppers with enoki mushrooms over citrus rice. Solidly done with tender, pink slices of beef. This isn’t overly spiced so it’s a crowd pleaser without feeling too safe.
For dessert, we had a blueberry yuzu crumble with miso whipped cream. I would never have thought to put miso in a dessert but, as someone without much of a sweet tooth, I loved how it made it a bit savory.
The final course was a surprise slice of pizza. I knew this was something they did (since everyone always thinks they leave prix fixe meals still hungry) but it was no less delightful. Also, it was a really good piece of grandma slice style pizza – a little spicy with the perfect amount of cheese.
As far as prix fixe meals go, this one is cheap – even more so when you take into account just how good the food is. I pretty much can’t stop thinking about this meal and haven’t been able to throw away our hand calligraphied bill. That attention to detail and general fun vibe (nobody took themselves too seriously and were ready to make this meal a party) made it memorable. I highly recommend the whole experience. When do I get to go again?