Monday, April 16, 2018

Kouwanou

Location: Kouwanou


Rating: Not great
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 1380 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Liver stir fry teishoku, black sesame ramen with half fried rice
English Menu: No
Smoking: Yes


My wife and I had a chance to grab some lunch after church in Ueno last Sunday.  We walked over to a nearby Chinese restaurant and were rather impressed by the badness.   The liver was ok and the ramen not terrible, but everything else was quite sub-par in flavor and quality.  Probably ok to pass this place up.

Black sesame ramen and fried rice

Liver stir fry teishoku

Monday, April 9, 2018

Maharani

Location: Maharani

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch
Price: 1300 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes:  Mutton curry lunch set, lamb chop
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Probably


I'm taking a class this week at the Mercure Hotel in Yokosuka.  There aren't a lot of places within walking distance of the base that I haven't already reviewed for lunch, but I took a walk around the Shioiri area and spotted a new (to me) Indian restaurant.  Of course I had to give it a try.


It is run by a very friendly Nepalese gentleman who asked me my opinion of the Indian restaurants in Yokosuka.  I was honest and said I liked them ok, but for my money the best Indian I've had in Japan is still Royal Parasol in Hayama because they have all of the breads and spices.  He was sympathetic and told me to come back he'd make me the real "indian" taste food and even other types of breads if he has enough notice and isn't busy.  I will definitely take him up on that.

Mutton curry

I ordered a mutton curry set with rice and a salty lassi (already accommodating me there) and a lamb chop that was on special for lunch.  The mutton was ok, pretty typical for around here, but not as sweet as some places.  The meat was a bit tough though.  The lamb chop was tasty, but pretty salty and again, a bit chewy.

Lamb chop with mint sauce

I'm giving this place an Ok for their typical food and will update later if the impression changes.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Kitchen Hotaru

Location: Kitchen Hotaru
Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 1890 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Katsudon and fried chicken teishokus, cold noodle dish
English Menu: No
Smoking: Yes




My wife and tried a new restaurant near Kenritsudaigaku station last night.  It's a nice enough Japanese cafeteria style spot.



We both ordered some teishokus that were ok at first, but not really that great.  The pickles were particularly nasty.



As the evening progressed, we both had rather bad reactions to the food, not food poisoning level, but general discomfort.  Not sure what ingredient caused it, but we'll almost certainly never go back there.



Friday, March 30, 2018

Ichiran Ramen

Location: Ichiran Ramen

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price: 1200 yen (estimate)
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Classic ramen, bowl of meat substance, one half noodle refill
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


I met a friend from church in Yokohama for beer and discussion at Thrashzone last night.  He used to live in the area, so afterward he took me to some good ramen he knew, and it was quite the experience.  I had heard of Ichiran from a Tofugu article but never remembered to track one down to try it out.  

Map of seats
The allure is the simplicity and privacy of eating ramen by yourself.  There is a very simple ticket vending machine at the entrance, and then you are given a little form to fill out with all the details of your ramen choices (flavor:  mild to intense, noodles:  soft to super hard, and more...) while you wait for a spot to open up.  There are two long rows of little cubicles and when a spot opens up you are ushered to it.  There is a little screen that lifts so you can only see the lower half of the servers and they take your paper and bring you food.  You can pay for an extra helping of noodles (or a half) without leaving the booth, using the back of the chopstick paper holder which has more options.  When you are done you leave.  So it's a pretty solitary experience...but the little barriers can be folded back if you are sitting next to someone you know.

My options paper...this requires some knowledge of Japanese

But how was the ramen?  Actually pretty darn good!  It was hakata style tonkotsu, which I ordered with intense flavor, and at the spiciest level. I didn't expect much in the way of spice, but wow..it really heated up and I was sweating by the time I left.  There was so much broth left after my noodles were gone that I ordered another half helping.  I also ordered some meat on a plate which had a kind of canned flavor, but worked fine once dumped in the ramen.  My friend paid for my ramen, so the price above is an estimate of what my total would have been.

The little booth

Definitely an interesting place, and I would come back or bring people here for a different ramen experience.

Ramen with meat dish, and a little pot with more spice

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Seiyouken

Location: Seiyouken

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price: 5292
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Miso and yuzu beef tongue slices, beef tongue steak, boiled beef tongue, pickled cucumbers, two cups of hot sake
English Menu: No
Smoking: Ashtrays were present

Menu is a bit challenging

Last night was rainy and cold, so I didn't make it down to Kenritsudaigaku.  Instead I went looking for a local spot I hadn't reviewed yet.  One of these is Seiyouken, down a skeezy alley with a bright cow licking itself on the sign outside.  This is a beef tongue specialty restaurant, with pretty much everything on the menu being beef tongue.  They were concerned that I know that prior to sitting down.

Sake and mandatory appetizer

As I've said before, beef tongue in Japan tends to be thinly sliced and freshly cooked, either broiled or pan fried.  Most of the items on the menu were variations on this with different toppings.  I tried the miso and yuzu flavors first, which were decent enough, if a little chewy, as to be expected.  I also ordered a "steak" which turned out to be a small, thick slice of tongue, lightly cooked on the outside, with still pink, slightly bloody inside.  It was more tender than the the thin slices, but still with a definite chew.

Miso tongue

I tried asking the chef if he had ever had Mexican beef tongue, which I explained was boiled for a long time (or short in a pressure cooker) until it became very tender.  After he got what I was saying he pointed to an item on the menu and said this was similar, so I ordered one.  He pulled out some frozen, thicker slices of tongue from the freezer and popped them in a pan with broth and brought them up to temperature.  This was then placed in a shallow bowl with some of the broth (I was instructed not to drink it as it was very salty) and salt/pepper sprinkled on top.  A dollop of wasabi was provided to spread on top of the two slices.  This dish was very, very good, with the wasabi (pretty sure it was fresh as it didn't have the horseradish tang of the fake stuff) providing a delicious counterpoint to the soft, tender tongue.  I was going to give them an Ok, but this dish changed things and I'm rating them a Very Good.  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of this dish, but it didn't look like much...it was all in the taste.

Pickled cucumbers

Yuzu tongue


Tongue steak


Kaza

Location: Kaza

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for a crowd
Price: Do not recall
Payment: Do not recall
Dishes: Ginger pork teishoku, spicy green beans
English Menu: No
Smoking: Possibly, but not while we were there


After church a few weeks back several of us went to lunch at a nearby chinese restaurant.  Although the lunch menu has the usual Japanese Chinese food staples, the real menu actually had some pretty decent real Chinese food on it.

This was the sample plate, but I had the same thing

I forgot to put this review up, so my memory is fuzzy, but I had the ginger pork teishoku (a classic Japanese Chinese dish) which was decently good, and the spicy green beans, which was really delicious.

Everyone was quite pleased with what they had.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Arashi

Location: Arashi

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for two
Price: 5670 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Beef tongue with negi and garlic, karaage salt and yuzu flavor, chicken skin chips, salad, two small bottles of sake
English Menu: Yes, at least the main dishes
Smoking: Yes

Mandatory appetizer

My wife joined me for Wednesday night dinner last night and may be coming along more often in the future with her new schedule.  We were going to walk all the way to Kenritsudaigaku, but on the way we came across Arashi, a newish looking izakaya in a pretty skeezy area of town that features beef tongue and karaage as their specialties, so we decided to try it out.


After perusing the menu in Japanese and deciding on what we wanted we realized that on the back was a nice English translation of the main dishes.  There were also some specials and smaller dishes that are still only in Japanese.

Salad and beef tongue

I love beef tongue, but mainly of the boiled, Mexican style used in tacos.  I routinely make it at home and use it for lunches.  Beef tongue is also popular in Japan, but usually sliced thin and cooked on a grill.  This produces a much more rubbery texture than I like.  I was hopeful it would be different here, but no, the tongue was still pretty rubbery.  I'll  have to try the extra special tongue next time to see if there is any difference.

Salt karaage

My wife loves karaage, which is available at virtually all convenience stores here.  I like it too.  The problem is it is usually made with some combination of spice powders that renders capable of producing the most unpleasant (to others) potent burps, so it's a sometimes food for sure.  Getting the opportunity to eat at a place that specializes in karaage was a treat, and my wife ordered the salt and yuzu flavors.  These were quite good, lacking in the overly processed spice powderiness of the convenience stores, and still quite good.

Chicken skin chips

We also ordered a local veg mix salad and a plate of fried chicken skin chips, both of which were really delicious.   The overall price was bumped up by the two small bottles of sake that we shared (about 1400 yen could be shaved off without drinks) but there is an unstated pressure to order something to drink at any izakaya.

We really enjoyed the place and would like to return to try more things on the menu some day.