Charcoal Grill and a View of Tokyo Tower at Steak House Xex

By Alexandra Homma
November 6, 2015
Food & Drink

On the top floor of Atago Green Hills Mori Tower, over 180 meters skyward, the dining facilities at Xex make a fantastic destination for those looking for a special night out, a romantic dinner with a scenic backdrop, or an intimate celebration with friends or colleagues.

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Recently refurbished, the former Italian restaurant has been transformed into Steak House Xex, creating more of a metropolitan grill experience. Other choices on the top floor include the washoku (traditional Japanese food) restaurant An that serves kaiseki cuisine, tempura and Edo sushi, and The Bar (you guess what that one is).

The tasteful aura of the interior of Steak House Xex, with windows all around and tables arranged alongside for an impactful view of the illuminated Tokyo skyline, makes for a dramatic entrance. From the moment we were escorted to our table until we left for the evening, the attentive staff certainly brought the class.

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Sitting down alongside the floor-to-ceiling window, the first impression was just how close Tokyo Tower seemed. There are higher restaurant views in the city, but perhaps none as close to the city’s iconic structure than here.

To start off, we opted for a glass each of the house champagne, Barons de Rothschild Brut (¥2,200). We were splurging this evening, and bubbly needed to be a part of it. With the top of Tokyo Tower at our eye level, it seemed only appropriate. As we relaxed and took in the view, the well-heeled clientele, and the soft buzz of the restaurant’s atmosphere, we felt distinctly part of the consummate Tokyo experience, one we could now check off our list.

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We felt like sharing instead of each ordering separate dishes, and decided on the special fresh seafood platter for two (¥9,000), paired with glasses of Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve chardonnay (¥1,800) from Sonoma County, California. The platter is an easy share for two and came with a wide assortment of Japanese delicacies. By far the main attraction was the ise ebi (Japanese lobster), served boiled but chilled with the shell open and its delicate flesh cut into easily grabbable, sidelong chunks. The plate also included an Italian caviar gunkan (battleship roll) sushi, salmon with ikura (salmon roe), clams, and two different styles of oyster on the half shell—one from Hokkaido and one from Iwate.

After the surf, it was time for the turf. We couldn’t resist opting for the 21-day snow-aged steak. Snow aging, or yukimuro, was a common practice in the Niigata region, known for its heavy snowfalls, before the invention of the refrigerator. The snow creates a cool and moist atmosphere, perfect for refrigerating and curing rice, fruits, vegetables and—you guessed it—prime beef.

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The 300-gram Australian Black Angus ribeye (¥6,000) came served simply with some salt and pepper, vintage balsamic vinegar sauce and a selection of gorgonzola, mustard, and Italian Barolo wine or truffle port sauce on the side (that last one is an extra ¥1,200, but it deserves to caress the chargrilled steak for its tawny combination of BBQ and sherry tastes; a little goes a long way). The large piece of meat was grilled to a perfect medium in the the restaurant’s Josper grill oven. It was accompanied by a truffle-flavored mashed potato (¥1,500). Of course, this being the more robust dish of the evening, we ordered glasses of a big, boisterous and berry-toned Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve cabernet sauvignon (¥1,800) to make us feel more carnivorous.

Steak House Xex is certainly not a cheap night out, but you won’t necessarily need to max out your credit card either. With its Gotham City feel in the middle of Tokyo and one of the more impressive views in the city, it may be an experience we crossed of our list—but it’s also one we’ll try again.

The Deets

Address: 42F Mori Tower, 2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-5777-0065

Open: Daily, 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. (last order 2:30 p.m.) for lunch; 5:30–11:30 p.m. for dinner

Originally from Bulgaria, Alexandra came to Japan as a teenager and has—as of 2015—officially spent half of her life here, studying, working and enjoying Japan’s culture and outdoors. A true lover of coffee, her hobby is exploring Tokyo's cafes, and she doesn't mind a train ride of two or three hours just for a sip of a carefully dripped, hot, black cup of java.

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