Gallery: Snapshots from Japan: Grilled Brains, Genitals, and Other Offal in Tokyo

Saiseisakaba restaurant
Saiseisakaba restaurant
Here is a view from the counter at the smoky interior of Saiseisakaba.
Saiseisakaba's Motsuni
Saiseisakaba's Motsuni
Saiseisakaba's Motsuni is a miso-flavored stew of intestines and other pig parts, topped with negi (Japanese leek).
Diaphragm and Heart
Diaphragm and Heart
Here are skewers of pig diaphragm (quite fatty) and heart, served with karashi (spicy Japanese mustard).
Trachea and Spleen
Trachea and Spleen
These are skewers of pig trachea (crunchy, almost like biting pebbles) and spleen (soft, bloody, and minerally).
Pork Liver
Pork Liver
This pork liver popped with minerally flavor.
At Saiseisakaba's Grill
At Saiseisakaba's Grill
Sitting at the counter provides a view of the grilling activities.
Small Intestines and Throat
Small Intestines and Throat
These are skewers of the pig's small intestines (crispy on the outside and really soft on the inside) and throat (much more chewy texture than flavor).
Large Intestines
Large Intestines
The pig's large intestines, like the small ones, are crispy outside and melt-away soft inside, though slightly more chewy overall.
Omasum
Omasum
This is a sashimi plate of cow's omasum, the third compartment of the stomach. Wonderfully chewy texture and flavored with marinated negi.
The Menu at Saiseisakaba
The Menu at Saiseisakaba
There's actually an English menu at Saiseisakaba, though not everything is on it (or available).
Saiseisakaba from the Street
Saiseisakaba from the Street
You can stand and eat (and drink) inside or outside Saiseisakaba.
Sights at Saiseisakaba
Sights at Saiseisakaba
The street scene at Saiseisakaba (and the Shinjuku area in general) is fascinating.
Inside Rukumatokyo
Inside Rukumatokyo
In contrast to Saiseisakaba, Rukumatokyo is more refined. Here's a look shortly after opening.
Amuse Bouche at Rukumatokyo
Amuse Bouche at Rukumatokyo
My meal at Rukumatokyo started with a small salad and consomme gel.
Quartet of Tastes
Quartet of Tastes
Clockwise, starting with the spoon: raw pork liver sashimi with natto and koji (earthy and delicious), pork uterus with daikon, sesame seeds, and vinegar (great texture), pork liver sashimi (one of my favorite bites of the night), and pig stomach kombu jime (kelp-infused for extra umami).
Salad, with Pig
Salad, with Pig
This salad is topped with smoked pork liver. Really smoky and really captivating.
Rukumatokyo's Motsuni
Rukumatokyo's Motsuni
Rukumatokyo's Motsuni, but made with katsuo (bonito fish) soup instead of the usual miso-flavored stew. It's topped with miyoga and negi.
Pig Brains
Pig Brains
These creamy pig brains are coated with rice powder, cooked in butter, and served with balsamic sauce. The chef said the pig was alive that morning, so the brains could have been eaten raw as sashimi.
9 Pork Bites, Ready for the Grill
9 Pork Bites, Ready for the Grill

Top row (left to right): diaphragm (very tender), liver in caul fat (one of my favorites on the tray), tongue.

Middle row: throat (almost crunchy), house bacon, "pai" (mammary gland, chewy texture) with Japanese mustard spinach.

Bottom row: spleen with tare (like liver, but chewier), miso-flavored intestines (very soft), offal sausage.

The Grill
The Grill
Here are the diaphragm and liver in caul fat just after they hit the grill.
Rukumatokyo Chef Takes Control
Rukumatokyo Chef Takes Control
You can grill on your own, but the chef will help you get things just right.
House Bacon
House Bacon
Here's the cooked, smoky bacon, with delicious fat.
Sausage Slices
Sausage Slices
Here's a look at the offal-filled sausage slices.
Asparagus
Asparagus
Lo and behold: a vegetable! Grilled asparagus, along with a dip made from soy milk, rice powder, and sake kasu (the lees left over from sake production).
Dessert
Dessert
The final course of the omakase meal at Rukumatokyo was a pork-less dessert: brownie-like chocolate cake, topped with purple potato mousse, cream, and sugar.