Okubo: Ainu
HaruKor (Okubo: Ainu)
Open 5pm-midnight daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

Ezo venison, salmon, scallops, potatoes and mountain vegetables - all freshly imported from Hokkaido - are prepared in simple fashion to bring out their wholesome, natural flavors here at Tokyo's only Ainu restaurant. Similar to Hokkaido country-style cooking, Ainu cuisine uses a bit more garlic, ginger and spices while focusing on seasonal local vegetables and other ingredients.

Some standout dishes include a stunning grilled venison with ponzu (even better than the venison steak); pan-fried scallops, asparagus and bacon; and garlic fried rice with scallops and mustard greens. We also loved the gyoza dumplings stuffed with kitopiro, a wild garlic-like grass similar to nira and only one of the several mysterious food names on the menu that we had to ask about.

Drinks include a few different Hokkaido sakes as well as shochu and beer. Like many of its neighboring Okubo shops, HaruKor features extremely casual decor and cheap prices - budget around Y2500 for food and drink. (Note that the restaurant moved to new quarters in June 2013.)

Shinjuku-ku, Hyakunincho 1-10-1.
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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended