Monday, March 16, 2009

Imonokura, Otemachi (芋の蔵、オアゾ6階)

The quest continues, my friends. As we enter the third week of March, marking more or less 10 weeks of Otemachi, we are proud and a little embarassed to report that EOITwJ has not, in fact, EO at the same Otemachi dining outlet twice. Unless you count the desk-lunch bento from Bamboo, but we don't (for reasons of pride).

Friday's Drunk Bears episode took the place of a planned Oazo trip, and when our colleague Barn-hand expressed no preference for location, the EOITwJ Management Team immediately pounced on the opportunity to get all bossy about destination. Again. As usual. And in fact Imonokura, the outlet previously identified through internet research as the most desirable (since Nenohi has already fallen to the relentless scourge that is, well, us), was available. We hit it up.

Barn-hand was attracted to the spring veggie tempura shown outside. After a disappointingly long negotiation, we learned that this was available only as a special-order item and could not be made into a teishoku through the addition of rice and soup. It's not even supposed to be available at lunch, so they were doing us a favor. After only a cursory glance at the menu, I settled on 'What he's having', since the daily lunch set at the next table looked really nice, and Barn-hand opted for a sala udon (sorry, it wasn't until last week that I learned what sala udon is. I continue to chip away at the ol' ignorance, but it's a veritable moutain.).

The sala udon looked like sala udon, except the ankake was even thicker than the last one I saw. Better you than me, my friend. The higawari teishoku, on the other hand, kicked a lil' azz, if you'll pardon my French. The main was a swordfish tonkatsu (i.e. battered, crumbed and fried swordfish steak) topped with plum-perilla-flavored grated daikon, a standard but delightful flavor combination. Around it were small dishes of fresh maguro in thick sesame sauce, stewed meat and potatoes (geez, really heavy on the Americanized explanations today. Nikujaga.), salad, a type of pickles whose name I should know and don't (I think they're nozawana, heavily spiced and with sesame), rice, and soup (which was a different type of miso, and I didn't ask even though I should have). All this, Y1000?! The sansaiten was a huge serving for Y960; easily enough for a teishoku but a little heavy - the kind of batter that forms a thick, crunchy crust rather than being light and crispy. Still, I really can't get enough taranome, can you?

This place could work out like Hassan in Roppongi - love it at first, then realize on subsequent visits that it's a little on the volume-y, stodgy side. But I don't think so. I'm going to go ahead and recommend it, and let me know if you try it out at night (when the long counter and huge liquor selection look quite inviting, if you're into that sort of thing).

There's someone in my potato cellar! Someone with a fresh soul!

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