Monday, March 23, 2009

Kamonka, Tokyo (過門香)

There's really a wealth of semi-hidden nooks all around Otemachi. As discussed with Koala yesterday, a lot of them aren't worth seeking out, but I maintain the search is...oh, about 20% of the fun. Still, we soldier on.

The North side of Tokyo station has a big bus boarding area (this is the convenient entrance for, say, Kitchen Street, if anyone's keeping score). Around this are some minor office buildings, and since this is Otemachi, every one of them has a few restaurants. On the east side (left if you're facing the station) is the Trust Tower, and on the second floor are a minimal selection of largish places, including Kamonka.

This is semi-fancy Chinese. You know how there are levels of Chinese in Japan (maybe anywhere, but I've got precious little experience with Chinese in Japan, let alone outside)? You start with plain Chinese - formica tables, laminated menus, normal food. Semi-fancy (not a technical term) involves some attempt to make the place authentic - often black and red theme, latticework, dim lighting, and kung fu floor shows (well, not that often). After that you get into full-on fancy Chinese, which goes back to white tablecloths, waiters in suits, elaborate plates, shark fin, bird's nest, etc. So Kamonka has the black woodwork, lots of semi-private small rooms, and a more expensive menu, but no floorshow, and the waitresses are wearing 'traditional Chinese costumes' or some such.

And the food was pretty good. I had a mapo tofu that was an extraordinary quantity (had to ask for additional rice to get through the tofu and sauce) as well as a solid taste. It seemed to be more balanced than the usual, since the usual usually has one of the usual tastes in extreme prominence, be it chili or sansho. In this case it was quite spicy, and not shy of sansho, but everything was somehow smooth and integrated. Yay for good Chinese!

Bustin' a move

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