Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sake no Daimasu Wine Kan, Asakusa

Wow, there's not a lot to do in Asakusa on New Year's. I thought all the junk vendors on Nakamise Dori would stay open all night, but they were closing up around 8. There were an amazing number of yatai around and behind the temple, but we all know what they sell.

Walking around a lot, feeling cold and downtown-y, we stumbled across this place. It looked warm and appealing from the outside, and inside it turned out that the concept and execution were quirky and pleasant. As far as I can tell, it's a grocery/liquor store that decided to open some restaurants. Good job, guys! We stayed for about two hours, just reading travel and food magazines.

At the wine-kan (where we were), they have about 10 wines by the glass. These are relatively small pours, but at relatively low prices, and the quality range is pleasingly broad (e.g. choices in red ranged from Chile to California to France). The glass wines we had were all good value drinking. For bottles, you can go in the basement (the doorway is literally 4 feet high, so watch it) and choose from the liquor store selection. This ranges broadly - from Y1000 South American bottles to more than a few famous names at apparently reasonably prices (Sassicaia at Y17,000 sounds OK to me, but I'm not that well-informed. Anyway, you can drink it and have someone cook for you at that price, so it's a steal if the food's half decent.) Or you can bring your own wine for Y500. Staff said the Kaminarimon store is the same concept, but with sake. And presumably Wa food.

This was after soba, thus there wasn't much space for us to eat. The chorizo/salami we ordered (6 or 8 types, all Y500, so the picture is Y1000) were excellent, exactly the kind of dry, spicy chorizo I was hoping for. Based on these few bites, I would be more than willing to go back and try some more...if only it wasn't in Asakusa. I just realized, this is quite similar to Hatchobori's famous Maru, although slightly upgraded in appearance.

Well done. More like this, please!

Couldn't resist this bit of Engrish on the menu...especially piquant since I'm a fan of salade gourmande.

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