Friday, November 28, 2008

Ichiriki, Monzennakachououou (一力)

[Jan 2011: This closed ages ago. It's a shame, really.]


I'm really not sure what prevented me from going into this place over 4 years of walking by it. I have a feeling it was the lack of menu outside, which is of course a frequent problem in Japan and one that any self-respecting food lover needs to get over toot-sweet if they want to enjoy the Japanese dining experience fully. All this week I've been deeply desirous of fish, but hadn't managed to close any transactions. Ichiriki went full-bore into the fish, so I'm partially done now (but not so much that I'm not looking forward to sushi tonight!). In fact, the billing of '魚料理' seems exceedingly appropriate, considering that the only non-魚介 things I remember eating were 2 chestnuts, a piece of ginger, some rice, and miso soup (which had half a crab in it).
Food: check. Somehow, I can't explain this, the Y3000 5-course menu included: a whole aji, sashi'ed. Half a squid, sashi'ed. A whole hairy Hokkaido crab, steamed and cracked and accompanied by vinegar. A whole hirame, simmered in sweet soy sauce. A big plate of rice. A bigger bowl of miso soup with the aforementioned crab's body stuck back into it (unless this was another fellow, but I thought I recognized his hairstyle.). Half an apple (you got me, I ate that too and it wasn't fish) and a small manju (alright already!).
Fun back-story: check. The master worked at Tsukiji for 30 years, in lots of different divisions (he's from Tsukiji but now lives in Kiba). He wanted to do something different, so he opened his own place. He sources the fish himself, directly from ports in Japan, because he thinks the fish at Tsukiji comes from too many weird places (like Boston!) to be reliable. We spent a lot of time talking about Kiba, but couldn't really come up with good ideas for good food there...
Pleasant, family-style service? Cozy atmosphere? Tasty food? Check^3. Value? Amazing.
Gurunavi seems to have the prices wrong, or else the lower level was a weekday thing.

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