Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Terada, Monzennakacho

There used to be a sad little kitchen-goods store in my neighborhood – sad because it stocked a bunch of really nice things and had a quaint, cramped interior, but rarely had customers. Perhaps the back streets of Monnaka aren’t the place to be selling Le Creuset? I was a little sad when it closed, then interested when the renovations started, then happy once it looked like a restaurant, then surprised when it turned out to be a sweet-looking upscale izakaya. It was full the first couple times I tried to stop in, which may have been a startup feature. Worked out OK when I went after 3 or 4 weeks.

Not a huge menu, which is the way I like things. Restaurants, especially one-man restaurants, can’t stock ingredients or cook fast enough to service big menus (I think). So it’s cool when the menu is just one page. In this case I steered away from the normal stuff and angled into a small and healthy set of dishes that sounded interesting. Not sure what the sashimis were; normal stuff like kinmedai, but really good quality (and a bit expensive). Nice, fatty kinme is one of my favorite sashimis. I also got two vegetable dishes. One was junsai in dashi (if you haven’t had junsai, look out for them and try them once. I think they’re an underwater plant, and the best way I can describe them offhand is clusters of green thorns with crunchy, slimy, clear balls surrounding them. I have no idea how a plant like this comes into being, or why people would try to eat it, or how Terada san could make it so tasty with a little yuzu-flavored dashi.). The other was eggplant nukazuke, which was strange because it was cold, but had a sort of dried/fried texture. I think it was just the nuka-ing, which wasn’t that strong flavor-wise.

Terada san (assuming that’s his name!) was nice and chatty to the weird foreigner ordering junsai, the atmosphere is very ‘new and clean izakaya’ (actually looks like an upscale sushiya, now that I think of it), and I recommend visiting. Ideally with me since it’s so close to home!

てら田 03-3643-2922 Tomioka 1-11-5, just across from the west entrance to Tomioka Hachimangu.

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