Thursday, March 30, 2017

Yakitori Standard

Location: Yakitori Standard


Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price:  3391 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Various little dishes, interesting sour drink
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Yes


Back to my usual schedule of trying a new place in Yokosuka out on Wednesday nights, I walked up close to Chuo station to try a recently opened yakitori izakaya called Yakitori Standard.  It's upstairs and wide open, brightly lit.  They welcome english speakers and have a nicely laid out English menu.

Chicken liver

They had an interesting looking sour drink that is served in a copper mug that I tried.  I quite liked it, refreshing and not sweet.  Not sure what was in it, but I'm guessing shochu of some kind.

Miso stewed tripe

Of course this is an izakaya so you just order a bunch of little dishes until you are full, so I'm just going to list them here in the pictures.  It was a pleasant experience and I wouldn't mind bringing my wife back here.

Negi chicken

Tsukune

Ground chicken in green pepper

Mini ramen

Bacon wrapped cherry tomatoes
 
Deep fried chicken skin

Yuki Akari

Location: Yuki Akari


Rating: Not great
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 2060 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Butter corn miso ramen, butter corn salt ramen
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


Back at Haneda airport after our trip to Okinawa, we arrived in time for lunch, so we tried another restaurant.  Yuki Akari is a place that purports to server Sapporo style butter miso ramen, which we love, so we gave it a shot.  Unfortunately the food wasn't very good and we can't really recommend it.

Butter miso ramen

Butter corn shio ramen

Ajijiman

Location: Ajijiman

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price:  8834 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Lots of little dishes, a bottle of awamori
English Menu: No, but good pictures
Smoking: Yes


After the second day of the tournament my wife and I got to leave a bit early and had some time to explore the main drag near our Airbnb for a good place to eat.  We ended up at a brightly colored izakaya specializing in Okinawan food as we were really craving some.  I wanted some awamori (local rice drink) and thought I was ordering a small serving but ended up accidentally ordering a bottle, thus inflating the price above quite a bit.  I didn't get a breakdown of the charges or I would have subtracted it.  I'm guessing it was between 3 - 4,000 yen (waaay more than just buying it at the grocery store, oh well).  It was delicious though and we managed to polish it off by the end of the evening.

Delicious awamori

We ordered a bunch of little dishes so I'll just put the pictures below and try to remember what they were.  The food was really quite good and we enjoyed ourselves a lot, so I'm giving this place a Very Good.

Ham wrapped avocado
Fried rice

Goya champuru

Fu champuru

soki

French fries

Not sure...delicious pork

Akai Helmet

Location: Akai Helmet

Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 3640 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Okonomiyaki, kimichi fried rice, garlic/pork/beansprouts, shochu
English Menu: No
Smoking: Yes


After the first day of the roller derby tournament in Okinawa, my wife and I were dead tired, but really hungry.  We started walking towards the main drag from our Airbnb and I saw a restaurant on Google maps called "red helmet", so we took a chance and veered off towards that.  It turned out to be a really nice, swanky izakaya with a great vibe.  We didn't mind the smoking because it masked the awful smells coming from our unwashed bodies.

Moyashi stir fry

It looks like they specialize in teppanyaki type dishes, including okonomiyaki, one of my wife's favorite dishes.  They also had several potato based shochus and I tried one out, much to my liking.  My meal was kimchi fried rice and garlic/pork/beansprouts which were ok.  The flavors were rather muted overall so despite the great ambience I'm rating this place an Ok.

Kimchi fried rice

okonomiyaki

Origin of the name

Monday, March 27, 2017

King Tacos

Location: King Tacos


Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 1700 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes:  Two tacos, one taco rice with lettuce and cheese, bara bara chicken (fried chicken)
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


King Tacos is a chain in Okinawa that specializes in Taco Rice, a sort of Okinawan dish that is basically taco meat on Japanese rice with lettuce, tomato and maybe some cheese or salsa-ish sauce.  It's a very common "comfort food" in Japan that was probably a result of using American rations in a novel way (to Okinawans).  To me it's always reminded me of something I would have made in my poor college student days, along with some hideous ramen packet abominations.  It's not that it's bad...it just doesn't have a lot of flavor usually.


Anyway, here we were in Okinawa, making our way to our destination by bus.  It was getting dark, and we had just missed our connection and had to kill about 50 minutes.  Lo and behold, the sign for King Tacos loomed above us!  An excellent opportunity to try the chain I'd seen from a distance several times before.


It was quite sparse inside, mainly a call in and pickup kind of joint.  But there were some standing tables and we were told we could eat there.  We ordered some tacos, a taco rice with all the fixings and bara bara chicken because...we didn't know what it was.  It was all quite cheap and like I said, we had time to kill.  Which is good because it took about 20 minutes for the chicken to be made and it was like...an entire chickens worth of meat!  By the time we finally got our food several other groups of people had come and gone and we were getting antsy.  We were shocked by the large portions and managed to eat our tacos and half the taco rice before we packed everything up and went to the bus stop.  Later, after we got to our Airbnb, we pulled out the chicken and finished it up, then saved the last of the taco rice to combine with some fried eggs for breakfast.  Our 1700 yen meal served us quite well.


All that said, I wasn't amazed by any of it, but it's really cheap, and the tacos were pretty good.  I think it would be a guilty pleasure if we lived in Okinawa and didn't have so many other places to try out.


Hitoshinaya

Location: Hitoshinaya
Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price:  2400 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Oyakodon, butadon
English Menu: No (I don't think so but it is an airport so they might)
Smoking: No


My wife and I flew to Okinawa for the weekend for a roller derby tournament.  We always prefer to fly out of Haneda as it is much closer than Narita airport.  This is actually our second time to fly out of the domestic terminal but the first was way back before I started this blog, so I have no reviews from then.

Delicious dashi broth

There are quite a few restaurants to eat at in the Haneda Domestic terminal and we took our time picking one.  Eventually we settled on Hitoshinaya which is actually 3 little mini restaurants, each with a separate entrance.  There is the "don" section where we ate, consisting of different "stuff on rice" bowls; the "breakfast" section consisting of Japanese breakfast food, and the "men" section consisting of ramen.

Butadon

It's a very nicely laid out place with pleasant decor.  They served us a cup of dashi broth to drink like tea, which was delicious.  We joked that Haneda has become synonymous with dashi for us and a visit isn't complete without a cup from either Nihonbashi Dashi in the International terminal or from Hitoshinaya in the Domestic.

Oyakodon

The food was quite tasty, more so than we expected, so I decided on a Very Good for this place.  I look forward to trying the other 2 sections in the future.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dublin Dock's Tavern

Location: Dublin Dock's Tavern


Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner
Price: 1000 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: 5 piece fish and chips
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Yes


I generally stay away from the bars on "the honch" (what they call Dobuita street and environs) as they aren't exactly there for the food.  Dublin Dock's Tavern is one of what used to be 3 "Irish pubs" in the area (one of them closed last year).  As I was walking by the other day I saw their menu had fish and chips on it and it had been a really long time since the last time I braved fish and chips outside of the British Commonwealth, so I took a chance on it.   Meh...


The best thing about it is the price, at 1000 yen for a hefty 5 pieces of fish and plenty of chips, it's a good deal.  But the taste wasn't what I was looking for, and I should really stop trying to find it.  Maybe it's all nostalgia but the fish and chips in England and New Zealand are just something else.

Otherwise the place itself is kind of skuzzy with that nasty smoked in smell.  Definitely not a real pub, just a bar with uninteresting beer.