Monday, April 20, 2009

No-tenki, Tokyo (呑うてんき,八重洲)

Evidently a bit of linguistic confusion on this one - the dictionary doesn't want to admit that the titular phrase exists, and one noted expert around the office says "There's no such word." It's a slight bastardization of a phrase for 'happy-go-lucky', which I guess is as good a phrase as any to convey the spirit of the go-go 50's, when this place opened and since when it hasn't changed a bit (except getting older). This is far away from the office - actually just off the semi-famous 'sakura dori' that runs between the north side of Yaesu and the south side of Nihonbashi Takashimaya - and even farther away from 2009; Zone noticed it lurking down an alley and got all excited by the grubby retro-ness of it.

EOITwJ breaks with tradition a little today by publishing a picture of...well, of the author, wearing a happy-go-lucky smirk and sitting on a stool at a sticky red table in No-tenki. If you look closely at the background, you'll see one of those charming vintage beer ads, and at the top 5 bottles of whisky mounted to speed pourers on the wall. That's dedication to the craft. But that's the kind of place it is - at night it's a standing bar, which I presume specializes in cheap liquor. Early Times was in the rack, yes.

And the food? Today saw only two choices, really: fried stuff or...wait, the other choice was fried too. Yum! Tempura bowl, tempura set, fried pork cutlet with thick brown sauce (ソースカツ丼). Zone and I got through a tempura set and a pork cutlet; both were fairly good, actually. The pork was quite firm, but the sauce was every bit as thick and sweet as it would have to be for me to like it (Nagoya: good only for miso katsu and grandmothers. Oh, and the occasional aunt.). The tempura was frankly, a different species entirely from Mikawa, but at literally less than 5% of the price, you can't expect perfection. Very thick and doughy batter, though not in an unpleasant way, and featuring a raft of big pieces of kisu, squid, and lots of vegetables including 2 tough little asaparagus spears. And when I said earlier that we 'got through...'? I lied. Maybe just fibbed. Neither of us could finish the mountains of rice presented to us.

Service deserves a special mention - loud as hell, in that exaggerated cheerful and polite way that may connote enthusiastic service to some people. But equally, charming because it looked like the head guy had been doing it for 40 years. Be warned - it's high-speed. As soon as we sat, the waitress stood next to us expectantly. No hello, no whaddya-want, just a '......' that clearly meant "Order already, willya?". Also, please pay promptly on delivery of the food - no fancy checks and cash registers here.

This is a nice enough review - good pictures. And the closing is right on: 'Recommended to people who want to eat a lot of tasty food.'

Back to the Future.

1 comment:

  1. No no, the permanent aunt and occasional grandmother...