Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tama no Hikari, Otemachi

Thus far, EOITwJ has done a pretty weak job of bringing you coverage of the 24 restaurants in the basement of the Otemachi Building (that doesn't include Starbucks or the conbini, nor does it include the street-level places like Drunk Bears). Today we set out to change that (for a start, we counted the restaurants). Unfortunately this was not a successful expedition, so all we can say is that we've crossed off another place.

High hopes. High apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes. Sake brewer Tama no Hikari's eating outlet in this basement usually features a line. Usually we take that as an indication of quality. Today we were mildly excited to see no line; after confirming that the udon place at the end was still sporting plenty of waiting people, we went back and settled in. No menu; the waitress showed us her order pad as a substitute, but we picked based on what other people were eating. A lot of sanma sets in evidence, some saba, something that looked like a slice out of a big ol' snapper, and various people eating seared bonito. Just to round out the recent research on how spring bonito isn't as good, we got that.

And it was a pile of fish. You know at the supermarket where they have those pre-seared bonito pieces so you can make this kind of thing at home? It was like a whole one of those. With a hill of shredded daikon, and lots of green onions. And even more rice, and soup, and pickles, and tofu. And it wasn't good. At first I thought it was the fish - this weird rubbery, chemical taste. Maybe burnt skin? Eventually I realized it was the sauce. Bad soy sauce?! Or since they're a brewer, maybe their own custom blend? Vile, my friends. I began to feel sick, ate some rice, and left.

I can't remember the last time eating made me feel sick. Violent regurgitation hours after eating my own cooking, sure...but that chicken tasted great! Not amused. Go on and prove me wrong. Let me know if you have a nice lunch there.

Really not good. Straight up.

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