Sometimes you just feel the need for crab — to just eat fresh crab to your heart’s content, especially without breaking the bank. We’d thought that this was a craving unique to Japan, but recently we’ve been seeing tourists from ASEAN countries visiting Japan for the chance to eat their fill of crab. We decided to take a look at the most popular of these all-you-can-eat crab restaurants! Top photo: Omborato
Located on the 3rd floor of the Hyatt Regency, facing the lush and beautiful Shinjuku Chuo Park, is our destination: Omborato. You may be wondering where the name comes from -- in Ishikawa Prefecture's dialect, the word means "relax and enjoy yourself." In keeping with the Ishikawa theme, the restaurant is decorated tastefully yet comfortably with traditional art and furniture from Kanazawa, Ishikawa's capital. The view is similarly beautiful, looking down over Shinjuku Chuo Park. On weekdays, the atmosphere is fairly quiet and relaxed, but come the weekend, things pick up with the popularity of the Weekend Lunch Buffet held on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
By the time the doors open at 11:30, there's already a line of hungry guests who can't wait. Each day's menu features over 20 seasonal traditional Japanese dishes. While the array of dishes featuring the best of sea and land should be enough by itself, the main event is clearly the all-you-can-eat snow crab. The juicy, tasty crab is an undeniable hit, as one tray after another, piled high with five kilograms of crab, comes back empty to be replenished. Mr. Sasaki, their spokesman, tells us that "the crabs are soaked overnight in salt water as salty as the ocean in order to keep the meat from getting too watery, and we pre-cut the shells to help make the crab easier to eat." It's clear that these tricks pay off, as the restaurant's guests have lost themselves in their conversations and their delicious crab.
Guests from abroad are always delighted when they watch traditional Japanese chefs at work. Whether it's the rhythmical movements of the tempura chef, or the gorgeous handiwork of the sushi chef next door at Miyako, it's like watching an improvised performance. The tempura has such a uniquely light and crispy feel to it -- let alone its flavor -- and the nigiri sushi is made after it's ordered from the table, and guests can see and taste the quality of everything from the rice to the fish. These go so well with crab as to make everything more worthwhile, as guests get a chance to enjoy Japanese cooking's tradition of excellence.
By the way...
When you head to Omborato, as you pass through the eight-floor tall atrium lobby, take a look up at the three stunning crystal chandeliers, featuring Swarovski Elements. After you've enjoyed your crab, take a breather and enjoy their sparkling elegance, to leave your body and soul feeling satisfied.
Hyatt Regency, 3rd Floor
2-7-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03) 3348-1234 (Japanese only)
Hours: Weekend Lunch Buffet open 11:00-13:15, then 13:30-15:15 (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays). Weekday lunch 11:30-14:30. Dinner 17:30-21:30.
(As of April 1, dinner hours and buffet pricing are subject to change.)
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