Friday, October 10, 2008

Ruri, Monzennakacho (るり 母ちゃん料理)

[Jan 2011: Long gone; I think this space is an udon now, but it's on its second iteration at least since Ruri left.]
I like to think that I'm a good judge of restaurants from the outside - the style, the menu, and signboard are all indicators of the care and concern of the owners for their premises, which I think extend directly to the food. Just so you know, I like a clean, simple exterior (flashing lights are bad), handwritten menu (lamination is bad; pictures are helpful but not a great sign - anything to indicate it changes periodically is good), and discrete signage.

This place Ruri is a strange contrast - the exterior looks very simple and elegant (a lot of white, somehow, and light wood, which is more normal outside than inside), there's NO menu (which is usually a scary indicator price-wise, right?), and the signboard says in a very straightforward fashion "Mom's cooking". Oh, and there's no gap in the doors, so you can't see in at all!

Anyway, it wasn't so scary inside; very bright, simple with a little clutter, big collages of pictures of mom (seriously! 留理子さん). The menu is brief and to-the-point, with a couple sashimi selections, cold tofu, boiled vegetables, noodles (hijiki soba! That's different.), stewed beef, fried chicken...all just like Mom used to make. I had both the kakuni (billed as 'wafu kakuni', which meant that it had been stewed only in dashi (I think) and was basically white - but still with most of the fat rendered away and a great taste) and the karaage (a weird sort of dryness; some different kind of batter that went on smoother and fried up darker. His chicken was pretty lean to, so it wasn't drippingly juicy inside like Mom used to make.). All in all, good food.

Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure he told me that it's not HIS mom. If I understood this correctly, the original owner was going out of business and he bought it from her. I can't see why he would leave all the pictures of Mom on the walls, but there you go. Anyway, this place is worth a visit sometime. You can be like the sad salaryman that I talked to; like so many, his wife was waiting at home but he didn't want to go.

Argh, I didn't blog it first. But this review is pretty poor and the place wasn't bad.
Ha, this page has a big list of Monnaka places and the Ruri review is funny.

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