Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ikinari Steak

Location: Ikinari Steak


Rating: Very good
Meal:  Lunch
Price:  1300 yen
Payment:  Cash only
Dish:  Steak Teishoku
English Menu:  None
Smoking:  No


Ikinari Steak is also a recent addition to the Yokosuka food scene.  Formerly the location of Ringer Hut (Nagasaki Champon style ramen), the restaurant has only been open a week.  It's a chain, but not one I've had the pleasure of trying yet.

I'm not a huge steak person, but I do like a hunk o' flesh now and then.  I'm also a cheapo, which means most steak is out of my price range.  So this place was made for me!  It's kind of like fast-food steak, and they mean it...there are no seats.  You stand and eat your meat.



The lunch menu is pretty simple from what I could tell.  I took some pictures this time so I'll try and post those later.  It was either steak or hamburg (a sort of Salisbury steak thing that most Japanese restaurants serve).  I think all the main dishes come with a small plate of rice.  If you get the teishoku you can also have salad and soup.  I got the teishoku.

The environment is pretty cozy, with up to 3 per side of the counters.  I was slotted on the inside close to the wall, and soon another "hitori" diner (1 person/alone) was positioned on the outer edge.  We never had to deal with someone between us, which would have been *very* cozy indeed.  The downside to all this is that the people across from you are kind of just...right there, staring at you.  Sometimes.  Well, that never bothered me, but these folks were a little...I don't know...country?  Very enthusiastic about their meat, they wolfed and smacked it down with gusto.  They also had a slight cough, and either one would explode periodically with seemingly no thought to where they were.  Not even an after attempt to cover one's mouth was detected.  So...there was that.  Not a fault of the restaurant at all, but something to consider.  I guess if we were afraid of germs we'd never leave the house, so I just dealt.



The salad was a rather sad, limp affair.  Dressing was available but nothing special.  The soup was in a small cup but surprisingly flavorful.  It wasn't miso...some kind of clear vegetable soup, but lots of umami and small bits of carrot and maybe daikon in there.



I dutifully tied on my paper apron, as I have experienced the way the sizzling steaks are sometimes presented...popping all over your shirt.  I have few enough without stains, so I figured I'd better be safe...I was glad I did!  300grams of rare meat (I wasn't asked, but I presume I could have told them how I wanted it), precut into strips, with some corn, and a brown swirl of what tasted like butter but was maybe mixed with something else on top.  I scraped this around and added wasabi and garlic paste from the counter toppings.  For my money, it was quite tasty.  Not the super fatty, deliciously soft Japanese steaks, but more like the chewy US and Australian varieties.  Some of the meat was still quite raw, which I like.  Some good fatty bits too.  I was very glad for the rice which I prefer to potatoes and bread.  There was some "steak sauce" to pour on from a small metal pitcher.  I tasted it before hand and it was not like A1 or Worcester sauce.  Very thin, more like a soy sauce consistency.  I liked it, so I poured it over the plate and got out of the way of the column of steam that resulted.

I thought the amount of food was perfect and I was pleasantly full afterwards, not stuffed.

A note on payment...I always like to see if credit cards are accepted as it minimizes how much cash I have to pull out in a given month.  I asked and was told that yes they accepted cards.  But when they tried to swipe/insert mine, it didn't work.  I know it works, I've used it other places, but maybe they really meant that they accept Japanese cards and not all cards.  I paid cash and all ended well.

Overall a great addition to the options available locally here.  It won't be everyone's cup of tea with the tight quarters and the standing, but if you have a hankering for a reasonably cheap hunk o meat, this should fit the bill!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Harmony

Location: Harmony
Rating: OK
Meal:  Lunch
Price:  900 yen
Payment:  Cash only (probably)
Dish:  Bibimbap Teishoku
English Menu:  No
Smoking:  Didn't look like it


This is a newish restaurant in town.  There was some kind of fish restaurant here before, in fact Google's label and street view still show the old restaurant.  I was out riding my bike looking for something new today and I spotted the somewhat garish sign from across the street.

My opinion of Japanese Korean restaurants is quite low, so bear that in mind when considering my rating above.  What rates an "OK" in Yokosuka is that the food didn't offend me.  For real Korean, I might rate it subpar.  The lunch menu was very simple and easy to follow.  They had 3 or so "teishoku" sets (set lunches with some soup and 3 small dishes).  I played it safe and tried the Bibimbap, which is a good gauge for the basics.  Hard to go wrong with rice topped with lightly wilted vegetables and some ground meat.  There were some good things I liked about it, especially the raw egg yoke provided separately so it didn't get all cooked before I had a chance to eat it.  The seaweed/sesame pickle dish was good, and the kimchee wasn't noticeably sweet (or maybe I'm just getting used to it here!).  The 3rd little dish was some sort of penne noodle thing smeared with a mayonnaise substance.  I took one sniff and about gagged...so no go there, but I've seen this sort of thing before.  I sometimes wonder if they give that stuff to the gaijin thinking it's more "western" fare, but perhaps there are some people who actually like it.  They provided some soy sauce and "spicy" sauce to go with it.  I've learned by now to taste these things first and while the soy sauce passed muster (it had sesame seeds in it, which was a nice touch), the "spicy" sauce was far more sweet than spicy.  About half way through the bowl I decided to see if they had anything "in the back" and asked if there was something "spicier" then the sauce they had given me.  Once they got the gist, the cook gave me a dollop of a red paste from a jar.  This was a little better, but not much.  At least it was not quite so sweet.  It reminded me of a thicker version of the "aji kimchee" (kimchee paste) you can find in the stores here.  Anyway, I knew I had stretched the limits so I finished my meal in peace and departed.

The staff was attentive, the space small but good enough.  There were a few small tables and a bar area (where I sat).  There was an odd odor in the air, but I stopped noticing it soon after entering.  Maybe due to the recent renovation.  I might bring my family there if we are down that direction.