Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lion D'Or Beer Cafe, Otemachi

Have I mentioned how hard it is to find a vegetarian counter lunch place in Otemachi these days? It's hard.

The basement of the Otemachi Building is massive. At a guess I'd say there are 50 restaurants down there, and at 12:00 sharp, when I went today, many of them were packed. A few places must be popular, as they actually had lines of 20+ people outside (udon, I saw). Not a lot of counter places though; one ochazuke place, but I reviewed an En branch only last week and didn't want to face another zuke. The Lion has certain issues with vegetarianism, but it was mainly counter-based, and did have open seats. It's a good thing I'm not actually vegetarian.

The menu is pick-your-poison - choose a type of curry (beef, keema, hayashi), choose a topping (fried chicken, fried potato, fried shrimp, or egg) and choose a size of rice (small, normal, big, special, all the same price). Basically Y750.

I had hayashi with egg (closest I could get to meatless!). The curry was pretty good, but pretty sweet (which is pretty good for me in a Japanese curry). The egg was actually described as 'fluffy' on the menu (ふわふわだ!) and it had a really disturbing texture. Once I got over the extreme softness, I decided it must have been made from powdered eggs, which would account for the highly uniform shape as well as odd scrambled-eggs-with-helium texture. All in all, not a bad thing. There will never be another place more deserving than this one of the tags "Otemachi cheap curry lunch".

One service anecdote that I liked - as I was finishing, I noticed that there was a 'Reserved' sign on the stool next to mine. Turned out that waitress had reserved that seat for a few minutes to make room so that the three guys who were waiting outside could sit together.

Roar, roar, my beauty!
Looks like they'll cater your dinner party too!

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