{tokyo} seryna {瀬里奈}

9:02 AM sians 0 Comments

as i was going through my archives of my photos on my computer, i realized i missed writing about a restaurant that i've tried while i was in tokyo last year. 

it was such a momentous event in my foodie life that i can't believe i missed it: my first experience with the best of the best and most expensive beef cuts of them all in the world.

yup, thy name is kobe and here is my story.

i've always wondered what would be the best way for me to be introduced to the ultimate dream of lovers of everything beef. and prayed that it would be reasonably priced. 

'sacrilege!' would probably be the lament by meat lovers as my overly adventurous mood steered me away from the grilled kobe sirloin, which i'd assume would be the ideal/widely accepted way to appreciate beautiful piece of meat. instead, i opted for a kobe beef shabu shabu at one of the best restaurants for shabu shabu in japan: seryna

located in shinjuku, it is located on the 52nd floor of the shinjuku sumitomo building. i've come to realized that hard work comes with coveted dining experiences mainly cos it seemed like i'd get lost n search of a new restaurant every time. and this time was no exception. with our very, VERY minimal knowledge of the japanese language, we even had trouble finding the correct elevators to get us to seryna. relief is probably the trick that makes us appreciate the experience more.. lol

the oriental infused decor was leaning towards the classic old school style with wooden panels covering most of the restaurant. it was meticulously clean, which i appreciated. one of the things that i loved was dining with the view of tokyo from our table. since we were one of the first diners for lunch, we were given what i would assumed one of the best seats in the restaurant.

looking at the menu, i knew we were having an order of their signature dish and something slightly less expensive. after much contemplation, sukiyaki it was, so i could cross it off my long list of japanese food list to try. i was initially concerned about not being able to converse in japanese language but we didn't have much trouble at all and plus they offered english menus as well..


the staff was very accommodating, considering we ordered two entrees that required two separate burners for a hot pot and another for a hot plate. they were so graceful about setting up an additional burner for the sukiyaki, which we were very grateful for.  on top of that, they were so meticulous about cleanliness that they offered extra napkins to cover my bag and a bib for {rmc} since he was wearing white. exemplary service standards!

entree :: kobe beef shabu shabu | 150 g (¥ 13,650)

as a hot pot was served at the table, we were waiting expectantly on the main star of our lunch and the prime reason of us being here in the first place. we stared in awe and drooled a little when the plate of the most beautifully marbled, thinly and delicately sliced beef were presented at our table. the balance of meat to fat ratio was just perfection.

we were slightly disappointed that the vegetable serving was so tiny that each of us were limited to a couple of pieces of greens, a handful of mushrooms and a piece of tofu. since the ingredients were gently cooked in a lightly flavored kombu broth, the three specially blended sauces: gomadare (sesame) for the beef, ponzu (soy and lime) for the vegetables and one akin to spicy chili oil mixed with sesame are required to enhance the flavors. the gomadare and spicy ones were a lil heavier while the ponzu was light and crisp, in contrast to the other two.

as the beautiful slices of fresh kobe beef were of the highest quality, gentle cooking for less than a minute was all that was needed to have it partially cook. a quick dip in one of the sauces of your choice and it was savoring time - and i mean...savoring the flavors with my eyes closed as the warm meat touches my tongue and all that deal :)

the kobe was truly very good, distinct beef flavor at its purest while having an almost-melt-in-your-mouth texture. it was just heavenly, soft and rich but not greasy. one very minor thing which could have made it better was slightly more seasoning which could have accentuated the beef flavors to another level. out of all the three sauces, i think i liked the spicy one the best since it brought out the flavors the most while still not overpowering the meat itself.

once we were done with the meat, the waiter scooped any stray bits in the broth and began cooking the vegetables and divided between the two of us. he repeated with some noodles to complete the meal, served in a small bowl with a ladle of the clear broth, light and cleansing after the meal.

entree :: sukiyaki | quality beef, delicately flavored and cooked in a special seryna sauce. an unforgettable seryna experience - prime beef (¥ 10,500)

i've heard of sukiyaki but never quite had it before. as a plus, i've always enjoyed a cooking presentation that comes with good food.

the marbling of the sliced prime beef rivaled the kobe - almost just as lovely. the supporting roles of the dish were seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, tofu and devil's tongue jelly. interestingly, devil's tongue jelly aka konnyaku is a hard jelly made from the root of the devil's tongue plant that has no distinctive taste of its own. it was perfect to absorb the savory and slightly sweet seryna sauce which made it taste almost like noodles.

the deliciously, freshly cooked meat and vegetables were served with a bowl of raw beaten egg on the side.

i was a tad confused about what to do with the raw egg and the sukiyaki ingredients. it was a little embarrassing when i was looking all confused that the waiter had to teach me to dip the freshly cooked, warm ingredients in the raw egg before consuming it.  the seryna sauce was slightly thick and i loved the balance of savory, umami and sweetness that highlighted the beef in a different way - the beef was soft and lovely texturally. the quick dipping in the raw eggs made it slightly richer and mellows the flavor of the sukiyaki flavors a tad, but at the same time enhances the flavor.

between the two dishes, we preferred the more prominent flavor of the sukiyaki while still relishing the mildness and simplicity of the shabu shabu that highlighted the kobe beef at is purest, most basic form with no additional frills. 

if you were ever in japan, kobe beef should be on your list to try, at least once but i'd advise saving up some for the hefty price tag. seryna serves this highly desired meat in various ways from shabu shabu to sukiyaki or the old fashioned favorite of grilled. with a history that dates back to 1961, seryna has developed a balance of finesse and simplicity to claim a memorable first in my life as a foodie - my first ever experience kobe beef experience. 

seryna | locations

shinjuku sumitomo building
52nd floor
nishi-shinjuku, shinjuku-ku
tokyo 163-0252

{yummy-ness | 4 forks out of 5 }
{worth trying | kobe beef is the way to go, at least once}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.