Monday, June 1, 2009

Beer Chimney, Marunouchi

Go ahead, keep on-a hatin'. We're going to continue going to the dodgy places under the railroad tracks until they're exhausted (even if we're exhausted first). And once in a while, they're going to turn out to be pretty good!

EOITwJ will never fully understand some things about Japan. Or possibly Japanese corporations will never understand some things about consumers (I'm prepared for Japanese consumers to be different in this regard, but hear me out). Why does one segment a brand? To target a specific customer set, no? And what do you have to have in order for this to work? Among other things, a distribution channel that reaches your target customers, and only them if possible. So if you're a retail store, why segment your limited outlets so that a few of them are focused on cookin' chikinz, while some others are focused on intestinal cuisine? Is it possible that they've identified some neighborhoods where it's really better to have an intestinally-focused menu? This being Japan, I suppose it's possible (c.f. the three portions of Kanda/Jinbocho/Ochanu that are each crowded with one and only one type of store - sporting goods, guitars or books).

Well, digressions aside, Beer Chimney is part of the Chimney Group, out of whose ~500 restaurants the biggest brand is Hana No Mai (はなの舞, something like Flower Dance?) and second biggest is Sakanaya Dojo (Fish Seller's Training Hall?!). The Chimney brand is a very small part, and Beer Chimney seems to be a one-off within that brand.

Which is a shame because they seem to be offering Gotenba Kougen beer at night (Japanese local or craft beers are not all that common, so it's nice to find them. If you want some, I recommend you go nowhere but Popeye in Ryogoku (it's on The Map), but I'm also partial to the small selection at Bistro Columbus, which will be closer to work if you work near me. Oh, and just to finish this thought, the liquor section at Shibuya's Tokyu Food Show has a great selection, relatively speaking.). And you know what else? Now that I've wasted all this space (and I recently read a short post on successful blogging, one of whose 5 points was "Short posts delight readers"), I'll tell you that the food was actually quite tasty.

Tasty is as tasty does, and this does tasty in a 'geez that's a lot of food, and it sorta tastes chemically enhanced for maximal flavor, which is probably why I like it so much' way. I had the Keema Curry plate with attached Hamburger; the keema had never of course met an Indian, but was quite beefy and attractive, while the burger (or Salisbury Steak, perhaps?) was very finely-ground and full of odd spices. Still can't think what they were, and that made it interesting to eat. Ponkan's 'katsutoji' (breaded, fried pork cutlet onto which scrambled egg has been poured while it's hot, so that the whole is 'sealed' by cooking eggs; you'll see versions of this on izakaya menus, but not usually with tonkatsu) was also reputed to be tasty, and you know I trust her. No beer accompanied our lunch, more's the pity.

Please enjoy the splendor of the brand list.

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