Friday, April 29, 2016

Anone

Location: Anone

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price:  3020 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Goya champuru, fried rice, tofuyou otoshi, coke, awamori
English Menu:No
Smoking:Yes


My son and I went back to the building from last week, this time going upstairs instead of down, to try the izakaya there.  Turns out this place specializes in Okinawan cuisine, which is great, because I love that stuff!

Otoshi of the day - dashi broth with daikon and tuna

There was no fried rice on the (Japanese) menu, but I asked if they could make some and they did.  I went for the goya champuru (asked for a small bowl of rice) and couldn't help myself from ordering some tofuyou (delicious fermented tofu...like cream cheese).  A coke for my son and awamori for me.

Goya champuru

The decorations are really neat, the place feels like an old-school comfy spot that I wouldn't mind returning to some time.  There are tatami mats with backed seats (no hole for your feet) and bar seating.  The music was excellent (jazz and soul).

Tofuyou
A nice surprise, and I'm looking forward to bringing my wife back here some time.  Helps that it's 1 minute from our apartment.

Chahan

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Isomaru

Location: 2 Chome Wakamatsuchō, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa-ken 238-0007, Japan

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch
Price: 830 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes:Avocado and tuna rice bowl
English Menu:Yes
Smoking:Yes


A fairly recently opened izakaya, Isomaru is most likely part of a big corporate chain.  It runs on pretty slick wheels and has a bright, cheery, seafood oriented feel.  There's a big basin full of living oysters and things as you enter the place.  Luckily, the lunch crowd didn't seem to be wanting to smoke, but there were ash trays everywhere.   The waitress promptly gave me an English full menu and lunch menu, which was mostly full of sea food themed dishes.


Avocado and Tuna Rice Bowl

I opted for the avocado and tuna rice bowl.  This arrived with little fanfare (no teishoku accompaniments sadly) and was decent enough.  I paid with a credit card (nice) and headed next door to Burger King to buy the first sandwich from them I've had in many years.  It was unimpressive...but on sale  Isomaru left little of an impression on me...I doubt I'll be back very often.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Banzai Sakaba

Location: Banzai Sakaba
Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner for 2
Price: 3440 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: 2 min-oden bowls (otoshi), fried rice, avocado tempura, roasted chicken thigh, coke, awamori
English Menu:Yes
Smoking:Yes


It was raining last night when I finally made it home.  My son and I usually go out on Thursday nights for a meal and this time we didn't feel like going far, so we went almost directly next door and tried out an izakaya.  It was early enough (5pm) that I felt we had a chance of avoiding any smokers, and we were mostly right in that assumption.

Oden otoshi

The Banzai izakaya local chain in Yokosuka features several different izakayas that are all pretty quality spots as far as izakayas go.  Personally, I'm not as fond of izakayas as the food tends to be expensive and meager, as it is mostly intended as accompaniment to drinks.  They also have "otoshi" which are mandatory snacks they charge you for if you sit down.  It's kind of like a cover charge, but you get something in return, which is nicer I guess...if you frequent places that do cover charges, which I don't.  I was pleasantly surprised by the evening's otoshi selection, little mini oden bowls.  I love oden (only one in my family who does), so I was happy to eat my son's portion as well.  He immediately spotted the fried rice option on the English menu and ordered that.  I decided on avocado tempura (because...yum) and settled on the roasted chicken thigh.   I should also mention that I have been to this particular izakaya before, prior to writing reviews.  I ate my first (and last) horse sashimi here in fact.  Raw horse meat is not my cup of tea, turns out.

Avocado Tempura

There was only one guy running the show and at first we were the only customers, but others started trickling in and the service got slower as could be expected.  We did order drinks as I often have a feeling of guilt when I eat at an izakaya and don't partake of anything to drink...coke for my son and awamori on the rocks for me.  It's funny how they have no issues with kids coming to izakayas...despite the drinking and smoking.  Guess the rules are different here.


Roasted chicken thigh
The fried rice was too heavy and oily for my liking, but my son liked it.  The oden was simple but tasty, and the avocado tempura was quite good, light on the batter and heavy on the avocado.  My roasted chicken thigh was the least interesting, being fairly unflavored, but it went down fine.  Overall, it's not a bad spot, but a little less comfortable for my taste than the nearby "Ume no Yu".  There's also another izakaya directly above this one, so I might as well come back and try that one some day.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sharky's

Location: Sharky's

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price:  $24.50
Payment: Dollars only, credit cards accepted
Dishes: Curly fries, mushroom garlic flatbread pizza, boneless chicken wings
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No



Sharky's is a bar on base located right next to Main Gate that recently had a complete remodel.  They used to be a mediocre burger joint that served some mediocre microbrew (locally brewed though, that's pretty awesome!).  Now they are much classier, serving a chicken wings and flatbread pizza, along with several good micro-brews from the US as well as a much revamped and varied lineup of locally brewed options.


Canned mushrooms!!!  Why!!!!?

My wife and had previously tried the beer but were not in a position to try the food until yesterday afternoon.  They don't open until 4pm, which is a pity because I would like to be able to have lunch there occasionally.


1 pound of curly fries... $3...mmmmboy!

We were eating an early dinner before going to roller derby practice and I wanted to try a spread of different items.  We went with the curly fries (very tasty), mushroom and garlic flatbread pizza (the bread itself was quite good, the toppings not so much...mushrooms from a can), and boneless chicken wings (the biggest disappointment...processed chicken nastiness...very unpleasant reactions the rest of the evening...should have tried the bone-in variety).  I am quite looking forward to returning and trying different toppings on the pizza and proper bone-in chicken wings, along with beer of course.


Unpleasant

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sherpa

Location: Sherpa

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch
Price: 1050 yen
Payment: Cash only (for now)
Dishes: Sherpa special curry
English Menu: Yes
Smoking:Yes


****
Update 1/28/2017

Wow, things change quick around here.  Sherpa has been replaced by KC's Craft Beer Dining!  It's also an Indian restaurant (Nepalese still) but under different ownership.  Check out the new review.

****

Sherpa is the latest "Indian" restaurant to pop-up in Yokosuka.  It's a bit different in that it appears to be going more for the Nepalese vibe, and it also has some Thai curry dishes on its menu.  It's also deliberately going for a "bar" feel, so smoking is allowed and you have to descend into subterranean room to find the place.


Needless to say, my expectations were rather low, so I was pleasantly surprised at the variety on the menu.  They have some very attractive lunch prices, but I figured I should let them shine, so I ordered the Sherpa special set (the only thing that comes with a drink and salad, drinks are usually 90 yen extra).  It was a curry soup dish that the waiter was pleased to tell me was "the real nepal taste."  I ordered at about 4 spice level (on a scale of 1 to 5) and enjoyed the warmth that ensued.  It was chock full of veggies and a chicken leg.  I heard the cook going nuts in the back while cooking it, so it seems everything is done up fresh.



I am looking forward to returning and trying some of the cheaper lunch options!

****

Last night my son and I went back to Sherpa and I am pleased to report that both the butter chicken curry with rice he ordered and the Himalayan fried rice I ordered worth both quite good.  The butter chicken curry was pretty plain, but not uninteresting, and I quite enjoyed the very flavorful fried rice.  I also had a chat chana (garbanzo bean salad) and was very pleased with the texture of the beans and the flavors.  So far everything I've had here is quite good!

Menya Kuroko

Location: Menya Kuroko

Rating: OK
Meal:  Lunch for 3
Price: 2450 yen
Payment: Cash only (vending machine)
Dishes: Fried rice, extra meat and egg plate, black sesame ramen, black sesame tsukemen
English Menu: No
Smoking: No






It's finally Spring in Japan and we are venturing further afield for lunch while the weather is nice on Sundays after church.  We noticed the Menya Kuroko ramen shop on the way to our after church bible study one day and so we stopped in there yesterday for lunch.  It's a tiny place, but there is some outside seating available which we took advantage of on a lovely spring day.



Black sesame oil ramen

They appear to have a signature "black sesame oil" tonkotsu ramen, so we got that one, along with the same tsukemen (dipping noodles).  My son of course went for the fried rice and was happy.  We each wanted an egg added, so we also got a plate of an extra egg, some meat and bean sprouts.  The dishes were lighter than some broths, the noodles of medium thickness.  Overall it was just ok, nothing amazing.

Tsukemen

Monday, April 4, 2016

Minmin

Location: Minmin
Rating: OK
Meal:  Lunch for 3
Price: 2340 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Fried rice and gyoza, genghis khan (lamb?), mahbodofu
English Menu: No
Smoking:Yes

Lunch specials

After church yesterday we grabbed a quick lunch and headed home.  However, we've pretty much exhausted the Lalaport Toyosu mall, so we walked a couple of blocks to another building with several restaurants in it.  Since we were going for quick food, we went for the Chinese restaurant, which always makes my son happy:  cha han (fried rice)!

Fried rice and gyoza

This place seems to specialize in gyoza, and my son's fried rice dish came with some so we could all taste it.   I wasn't too impressed, the insides were weirdly mushy.  The rice was fine.  My wife got a mahboudofu (soft tofu in a goopy sauce with ground meat and spices) which she liked because she was still getting over a cold.  I got a "genghis khan" dish that may have been made with lamb, but it was hard to tell.  Whatever, it was meat and onions stir fried and it tasted good.

Nothing amazing, but quick and cheap, this isn't a bad spot.

Mahboudofu

Genghis khan

Bukkenya

Location: Bukkenya
It says:  Ramen

The actual name...whatever it is...

Rating: OK
Meal:  Lunch for 2
Price: 1950 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Spicy tonkotsu ramen, salt tonkotsu ramen
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

English menu to the right



Hey look, another ramen spot in Yokosuka!  The second to open this year, it has been about a week since they started serving customers.  I can't be sure about the name (Bukkenya) as the server's accent was difficult to understand, I think she was Chinese.  Eventually Google Maps should update with the accurate name, but for now I have to call it something.

Salt tonkotsu ramen

They have really tried to make the place foreigner friendly, with an english translation of all the vending machine buttons out front, very easy to read.  When you sit down, they bring a little card with all the options on it (noodles:  hard/normal/soft, broth thickness: thick/normal/thin, lard/oil:  lots/normal/little) so you can just point.  They serve mainly variations on Yokohama style tonkotsu ramen, so pork bone broth base, straight up or mixed with miso/salt/soy sauce.  They also had a spicy version, which I went for.  My son had a salt version.  Also, they offer free all you can eat rice that you can dish up yourself. Personally, I never have room for the extra carbs, but hey, it's a perk.

Spicy tonkotsu ramen
Both of us liked our bowls, I'd rate this a high Ok, low Very Good.  The meat was just ok, not the melt in your mouth goodness of Kami Buta.  The noodles were satisfyingly thick and chewy.   The bowl size is smaller than some places, which is fine with me.  I still couldn't finish the broth, and my son ate about half his noodles.  My dish had a soft boiled egg which was quite tasty.  The spiciness of my ramen's broth was about middlin' but there were more spices to add at the table, including white raw ginger (tasty), spicy paste, and raw garlic (careful!).  I didn't have that icky feeling I sometimes get after eating tonkotsu ramen, but that may just be because it had been a while.  Lately I've realized that ramen (like cookies) is a sometimes food.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hamakaze

Location: Hamakaze


Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 3
Price: 2950 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Fried rice, goya champuru, buttered fish, katsudon
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


Finally!  We got some goya while in Okinawa!  Apparently goya is a summer vegetable, so many places weren't serving it.  Hamakaze is a smallish roadside restaurant right on the way to and from Okuma Beach Resort.  The food is better and cheaper than available on the resort, it's worth a stop.  When we went it was really busy but we found out this was due to a funeral happening just down the road that was letting out for lunch.  I imagine it's not usually so full.  We had to return in 30 minutes for a table.

Fried rice

My wife got a buttered fish teishoku that was super delicious.  My son was happy with is fried rice and I got a katsudon (I know, very unimaginative).  I also got a goya champuru dish so we could have that all important goya dish.  It was quite tasty.

Buttered fish

Katsudon

Goya champuru