Ever since our trip to Japan, Tiara and I get regular, persistent Japanese food cravings. Fortunately Paris has some good options in this department. We stopped in for lunch at Kunitoraya and couldn’t have been happier.
Kunitoraya specializes in udon, those fat Japanese noodles that are most commonly encountered in scalding hot broth. Given that the air outside was basically scalding hot broth from the heat wave, we tried some different dishes.
Tanuki Zaru Udon
Literally “cold raccoon udon.” I don’t know what it says about my Japanese that I recognize the word for raccoon on site. Probably that I played too much mario bros as a kid.
In case you are wondering, no, this does not include actual raccoon; it’s just fried crunch bits of dough.
This dish was well made, noodles were perfect, dipping sauce was good, and it was nice and cold/refreshing on a hot day. The flavors were kind of subtle, but this is a characteristic of the dish more than a fault of the restaurant. If you want a flavor bomb, you might consider Tiara’s dish.
Tiara skipped udon entirely and went for this killer beef rice bowl. I have had a lot of gyudons in my life, and most of them are not half as vibrant or interesting. When they’re bad they’re mostly just grease and rice, and look something like this sad thing. When they’re good, they look like that picture Tiara took of her lunch. You’ve got a couple kinds of pickled things, eggs, seaweed, scallions, and perfectly cooked delicious beef. With a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, biter, salty, and umami components, the thing is firing on all cylinders.
If you need a break from the French cuisine in Paris, this places gets my highest recommendation. It’s also just a short walk from the Louvre or Jardin de Tuileries. We kept planning to make a return visit while we were in Paris, and somehow couldn’t get it together.
Note: Protocol was a bit confusing here; there’s no putting your name on a list or anything like that. If the place is busy, line up outside the door and a hostess will tell you when they have space.