Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sabou Oiwake, Tokyo (茶房追分,東京駅)

Fresh from overdosing on chicken, I realized that lunch with Volleyball had been scheduled in for some time. He had overdosed on pork last night, so we set out in a healthy frame of mind. Wandering past the south-of-Eitai-dori options under the tracks, I was struck by the fact that nothing looks good there. It made me question my goal of finishing off the row, but I'll persevere. Just not today.

By the time we reached Bravo! at the end of the line, things looked bleak. We steered left and through the odd entrance passage to Tokyo Station, then hung a quick left and found ourselves approaching those twin bastions of on-train drinking, Enoteca Champagne & 375 and Sho-Chu Authority. And across from them, a dessert-y looking place that, on closer inspection, proved to have a few savory lunch sets as well.

You know how I frequently go to restaurants where the clientele is all women, right? Well, today there were two other table of men...in the separate men's section in the back, where they seated VB and I. There are really only 3 savory sets, all fairly healthy, and then a wide range of parfaits and sugar syrup-based fruit dishes. We ordered a set each, plus the mini syrup bowl for dessert.

The thing we didn't try was the dango nabe - just the titular item (which is small balls made from rice that's been cooked and then pounded until it turns into paste...a beloved tradition of Japan, especially at New Year) and vegetables in a cast-iron pot with a wooden lid. The pot and accoutrements were of course the same for the other soup option - soy milk! I really enjoyed this, and I think seat would too. It was a lot of soy - in addition to the tounyu itself, there was a healthy serving of yuba, a bit of tofu, and then lots of gobo, carrots, daikon, konnyaku...and one lone piece of chicken, which I gave to VB. This came with two kinds of pickles and a bowl of multigrain red rice. Yummers!

The dessert was just a small bowl of fruit and jelly and red bean paste accompanied by a pitcher of brown sugar syrup (anmitsu, on better days) to pour over the top. A very civilized, refershing, and tooth-achingly sweet way to finish the meal...just the way we like it. I'd happily go back here; one thing to note is that you could easily get one pot of soup and two bowls of rice for two people as long as you got the mini desserts as well (and if they'd let you do this).

Any restaurant focusing on brown sugar syrup is bound to be fine with me.
03-3215-2281

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