Friday, April 3, 2009

Casa Camaron, Ginza (Velvia)

Patrick Hutter (not his real name) lived across the hall from me freshman year at Wesleyan. He was a funny character, a German who had grown up most of the time in Mexico where his father was an exec with Siemens. He had a Strat, which he played only once in a while, some odd computer devices (I can't forget the time I watched him unplug the public phone on our floor and supposedly hack the university's mainframe...), and a personality a fair few degrees sideways from normal conventions. His brother was a few years above us at Wes, but a world away with his Aryan looks, rich friends, and expensive atmosphere. They must be having fun, wherever they are.

This crosses my mind mainly because often when I hear Spanish, I think of him and the various epithets he would call people around the hall. Surprisingly, 'bucho' was not one of them; astute reader 'Mom' pointed out this definition last week when I used the term in a post. But 'camaron' has a vague air of Mexican insult to me.

I mention all of this because there isn't that much to say about Casa Camaron (Velvia 8F, along with Grappolo d'Oro, which I'd like to try). Over a pleasant hour or two, the team got through 5 or 6 items without raising much interest one way or the other (unless the conversation was just too fascinating?). The ham was Iberico, but cured in Saitama, and had a unique flavor that made me wonder if I liked it or not. The sakura ebi fritters, subject of intense glee when I saw them on the menu, were oily and merely passable. The 'squid in his ink' was perhaps the most disappointing, as it was neither tender nor flavorful. Cold mussels in their shells with diced pickles were refreshing, at least.

Glass wine came in about 10 varieties including a cava and some sherries, service was very pleasant and accommodating, and the atmosphere was white-walled and bright despite being an interior (no window) store. It's just not a destination restaurant, but there's nothing really wrong with that.

Actually I think it IS his real name.


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