Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yuru-Yura, Kanda (日本橋本石町)

This is a bit of a genre unto itself, isn't it? By that I mean not the 'Kyo Banzai' that Yuru and Yura specialize in, but rather "Dark wood bar with good snacks run by women and playing reggae". The food's good, the atmosphere is pleasant in a weird 'tropical Kyoto' way, and it seems worth a dinner visit (if your tastes run toward Kanda).

EOITwJ has to confess that we get a kick out of filling in areas on the map, as well as 'discovering' new and interesting locales. The few blocks of Kanda just east of the station contain a bunch of pleasant shops that we're now busily busying ourselves with...and having a bike parked just outside makes it even more pleasant to nip off halfway to Timbuktu for lunch. YY is on the street with all the restaurants, and it has a clever sign and an appealingly woody exterior, so it catches one's attention.

Inside is lots of dark wood and a low counter that's hard as hell to sit down at, even with your shoes off, which is mandatory. But above the counter is some lucky bamboo and a massive traditional-style umbrella, which establishes the tropical atmosphere right off. In a Japanese way. The counter doesn't seem to have room for the banzai (family-style dishes) that should be there at night; it's about half full of shochu and plum wine. The walls are black, the staff is young, female and sorta hip in a grrrly way, and the overall effect is relaxing. Except for the obnoxious Japanese reggae overhead (inexplicably mixed with an oldies song called Poetry In Motion, I think the Bobby Vee version since it was so bland and smarmy).

For health reasons, I chose the 'buta kakuni', a Japanese specialty consisting of pork belly made more healthy by long, slow simmering in sugar seriously, it's something like that, but it's good. Their version was in the 2nd quartile, I'd say - the fat was all metingly soft, but not quite rendered away as much as I'd really like. To enhance the health benefits, it was served with a half-boiled egg that featured the pretty orange yolks one sees in Japan. The broth was a bit lighter and sweeter than expected (and it was in broth, which is not a given either). All sets came with, count 'em, 6 side dishes - pasta salad, pickles, boiled burdock root, sesame mizuna salad, pork soup (tonjiru) and rice. I love a lotta side dishes, don't you?

Nice place. Relaxing. Worth your while if you can swing by someplace as far away as this.

The fish are cute, right?

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