Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tsukudaya, Monzennakacho (寿司割烹佃屋)

OK, so it was probably a mistake to go out for a little dinner, alone, two days after the new year. But it was Friday night, I didn't feel like sitting around home any more, and plenty of places were open. Despite the length of time I've lived in Monnaka, there are still plenty of places I keep meaning to go, and on this night I got to one of them.

Tsukudaya (sorry if that's the wrong reading) is down in Botan, and in fact a little distance east of the main intersection where Pivoine and Garlic Food Market and other places are. It's an awfully quiet street, as the master was lamenting while I was there. The combination of the street, the day, and the somewhat unwelcoming aspect presented by the establishment all conspired to make my visit a short disturbance from the otherwise peaceful and customer-free evening that the chef and his wife were having.

Should have know something was up when I saw the sushi case; should have walked out. Everything was noticeably grey. And I don't mean that in a good way, if there's a good way in which to mean it. Furthermore, everything was shellfish - akagai, torigai, cooked shrimp - except for some sorry-looking hirame. Well, I didn't ask, just resolved that I'd stick with cooked food since the named of the place includes 割烹.

No menu for cooked food. Basically "Well, we have grilled fish". I went for a sawara saikyo, on the basis that it should have been preserved before being grilled, so had a better chance of not being off. It wasn't bad, but had a peculiar aftertaste that reminded me strongly of a wet dog. Which is probably not the ideal circumstance for a fish. I asked for vegetables also, and got a dish of nimono that looked like they could have come from the pot that the family had been working through over the holidays.

I left after that. If you don't have food, why would you open for the night? Where's the pride? I was disappointed, because this was one of those little places that's hit or miss, and a bit nervy to walk in to, and I had been hoping for over a year now, off and on when I'd walk by. The pictures on the web site (almost 3 years old) look great, but the evidence wasn't there.

Hey, at least it was really expensive!
03-3630-2677

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