Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ikoi, Tokyo

Anonymous, I stand by my amended statement that nothing good comes from Nagoya except your aunt and grandmother and miso katsu (and you when you come back from holiday!). Ikoi's miso katsu is different from those I've had in the past; some would say worse. I'm trying my darndest to be positive, so I wouldn't be one of them.

After going-on 5 years in Japan, I've acclimated to most of the accepted tenets about food. One weird foreign habit that I've never managed to break, however, relates to miso. Japanese people treat miso strictly as an ingredient, not to be eaten alone (unless it has bits of something mixed with it, like barley in moromi miso or spring vegetable buds in fuki miso). And there's a separate category of 'things to put on rice' (both dry furikake and wet pickled things). Why doesn't miso cross the line? It's beyond me, and I'm prefectly happy to dab a bit of miso on rice to change the flavor (although the more I get to appreciate the flavor of rice, the less I feel compelled to do this).

So hey, liberally swabbing the top of a deep-fried slab of pork with sweetened miso sounds...good. And proper. Miso katsu is like katsu curry - two great tastes that taste great together, why didn't someone think of that centuries sooner, etc. Ikoi's version is a letdown to me because they thin the sauce way down. It's more poured-over-and-around rather than slathered-upon-and-never-coming-off. But the pork is good, the sauce is tasty, the cabbage is...let's not push it. The rest of the menu is cheaper than the Y900 for the miso katsu, but only in a range between Y880 and Y850 (seriously, all ~6 sets are in a Y50 range. They must really be calculating the cost of ingredients and labor closely).

I think I saw the lead singer of the Vapors teaching English in Shibuya last week.

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