Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eiraku, Otemachi (永楽)

This place is uncanny - how do they pack so little flavor into every bite?! I think they've perfected a Sino-Japanese version of FRT (Flavor Reduction Technology). Then again, I'm learning every time I visit that the JA Building is good for a laugh, in a depressing and age-yellowed way, but not a place to go for things like quality lunch.

Eiraku has one advantage - it's open. I went at 2:30 on Monday, in large part because I thought it was open, and noted that it seems to be always-on between 11 AM and 10 PM. Keep that in mind if you're in a weird timing situation and are in need of mediocre Chinese in a depressing setting. They use a fun 'ticket' system like many other places in JA, and once I selected my dish I received two tiny blue pieces of plastic and an instruction to sit wherever.

Something possessed me to eat noodles, and more to the point ja-ja noodles. That sounds weird now that I've written it; you may know them as the sorta Korean cold noodles topped with meat miso (a good thing in my book), cucumbers (I love cucumbers) and some other bits and bobs. In the original version I had, at Pairon in Morioka, where they're famous, the noodles were thick and chewy, the miso was chock fulla meat, there were liberal lashings of vinegar and ginger, and you could more of any topping at will. It was delicious. And Eiraku wasn't it. The miso was more like miso ankake; I couldn't tell if there was miso in it. And I kept putting vinegar on, but never seemed to taste it. In the end, I doused the remainder with la-yu and black pepper, scarfed it down, and left.

Some things you can chalk up to experience, some times you should have known better.
But it's cheap and it's open.

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