Friday, April 10, 2009

Budoya, Kanda (葡萄舎,鍛冶町)

EOITwJ doesn't mean to harsh your mellow if you're having a bad day, but we're having some very good days here. It may be mostly the weather that's suffusing us with contentment and feelings of well-being, and to that we say, "shine on!" No meditation or psychotics are involved (最高~~!). Nor aura therapy.

Ahhhh, the Japanese obsession with...well, whatever. In the case of Budoya it's clearly an obsession with curry, and it's led to product that's fresh, unique, tasty and affordable. This has gone straight to the top of the list of places to go back to if we ever lift the restriction on repeat-venue lunching (although with Spring vacation now locked in at 19 workdays away, it seems like it's probably a worthwhile goal to hold out until then. Certainly no lack of outlets for that particular urge.).

If you've been reading all week, you'll know that this is the place that turned the team away on Tuesday. Because they ran out of rice. The owner remembered that today, apologized, and laughed when asked if they still had rice. Seems like this older, slightly hippie couple run the place (they both have gray ponytails, which in Japan is more than enough to justify the description) - do they love curry? Do they just find it relaxing?

Fer sure they've set up the shop in a very relaxing way; in fact I'm inescapably reminded of 'Japanese mountain resort', e.g., Karuizawa. There's a lot of wood, communal tables, some old license plates, a small bundle of pheasant tail feathers, and an open kitchen. The windows were open and it was breezy; after eating Zone and I camped on the benches by the window and talked to the owners. They brought the chai over there, and it was good. The jewel was in the lotus.

The food is definitely curry. It's thick, rich and vibrant - both in color and taste - in ways that you don't find in other Indian restaurants. Including in Bombay. But I think this represents their own unique vision of what Indian food should be like. Zone and I stuck mostly with the veg curries (and you know, it's rare to find that in Japan, isn't it?). To remind you that you're not in Kansas, there was no dhal; the bean curry was chick peas. The eggplant curry was tomatoey, and the okra curry was spicy and oily. Since I became an overnight expert on curry-making (irony alert) courtesy of the lovely and hopefully-new-mothered Malika, I would guess that the odd flavor in these curries is due to an improper balance of spices and/or adding the dry spices to a wet mixture. They don't taste that integrated, but they do taste very good in their very own way. A return visit is very desirable.

Other people were turned away today before 1 PM. Make sure you get there not-too-late.

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