Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kyouzen, Roppongi (京善)

Kind of an interesting place, this. There aren't a lot of lunch places where you can feel like you've stepped out of Roppongi and into an altogether more civilized and Japanese environment (Umaya comes to mind, R.I.P.). I suppose for foreigners this means Kyoto style, or at least 'traditional' and 'Japanese' and 'the kind of place you'd take your parents to on their sporadic visits to Japan so they'd be impressed and go home and tell their friends "Ohhhh, Edna, you should SEE the cute little place that Junior took us to! They had the gee-sha girls and everything! The food was a little weird though..." There's a counter plus 3 or 4 koshitsu with horikotatsu. Very sensibly, they let (force) customers share the private rooms, which cuts down waiting. And you will wait. We arrived at 11:50 and felt lucky to get seats.

Lunches come in a few varieties: Y1000 pick-one weekly lunch, Y1500 get-both weekly lunch (incl. smaller portions of both of the things you can pick from in the Y1000 class) and Y1500 wagyu steak strips lunch. This week the choices are, errrr...soft boiled cow tongue (牛舌のやわらか煮), which you would probably want to describe to Edna as soft brisket in brown gravy, or else ajisashi in miso sauce. [The steak strips thing I only had one time; I remember it as good, but with thin strips of steak that came up a bit crispy and fatty - unfortunately quite a lot like Steak-Umms.] The tongue was indeed soft, and nicely done, but a bit cold. The aji was definitely good; now that I think about it, it looked more like saba since it was slices across the fillet, not small pieces like you usually get in aji. In the bowl was a delightful condiment of sliced turnip - very technical, it looked like they had peeled a cylinder of turnip in one piece (like chefs do to make strings of daikon), then rolled it up again, then cut off a thin slice to form a single coil in the bowl. This comes with two more small dishes (a slice of dashimaki tamago, some boiled greens), plus red miso soup and rice. There's a dessert too, but I couldn't identify it - closest I could come is 'flavorless anin-dofu with cornflakes topping' - so let's not talk about it. Houjicha is plentiful.

I could almost recommend this place. The temperature of the tongue put me off today, as did the realization that they never change the egg and spinach side dishes. But it's worth a visit!

I don't wanna go down to the basement

I should explain - this place is in B1, just above that wacky Brazilian place where they sometimes have the lunch buffet and always have the blue margaritas at night...

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