Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trattoria Birichino, Kanda

My friends, I know I've maligned Kanda in the past. But today the sun is shining, the sky is clear, the weather is warm, and even the salarymen look a little less gray. With no intended sarcasm, it's nice to be alive, employed in Tokyo and able to walk to Kanda for a late lunch. The odd little section of small office buildings on the west side of Inner Kanda between Sotobori and Hibiya roads is a veritable treasure trove of new things to explore - no less than 4 Italian, 1 French and 1 Belgian restaurant grace its narrow lanes, to say nothing of the various Japanese, Chinese and Thai options to be found.

Trattoria Birichino is one of the Italian places (two doors down from one of the other Italians, and just down the block from the Belgian), and a pleasant one at that. Its long, brick hallway gives way onto a dark, L-shaped dining room with a semi-open kitchen, and the staff bustle about at a furious pace even when the place is half full. Everyone seemed happy and pleased to see customers coming in.

The menu has what's good for what ails you (as long as what ails you is ameliorated by Italian!). A few basic pastas (Y800) included meat sauce (oil-heavy ground pork and tomato, really enjoyable) and smoked salmon with store-made short pasta (the spaghetti was supposedly store-made also, but didn't have the right texture to me). There's an Italian-style hamburger and a grilled chicken main (Y900), or a course of starter, main and dessert (Y1500). Drinks are Y100. Pasta came with a tiny salad and a little piece of bread.

Usually you get what you pay for; in this case Y800 seems to cover a pleasant pasta and sauce and a lot of good will from the team.

Funny, I sat right in front of the bottles pictured on the web site's front page!

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