Friday, June 26, 2009

Ichino ichino ichi, Nihonbashi

Fire, water, elemental dining experience is on offer here at Ichinoichinoichi (can I abbreviate that as 'hey you' or 'the place'?). I first saw this n a magazine and was mildly impressed by the outdoor terrace, big torches, and overall resort-y aspect...until I saw the address was Nihonbashi! 'Where could that BE,' I thought to myself. 'I've never seen such a thing before!' After that point it became my mission to visit this place and enjoy, if only for an hour, the relaxed atmosphere.

What the heck was that paragraph all about? This place really DOES have a prime location - the name refers to its address in 1-1-1 Nihonbashi, about 10 meters from the actual bridge, the technical center of Japan. And the group (this place is too well-developed not to belong to a group) has done a good job building it out. The entry point is in the bar, the back dining room has clean lines and modern, woody furniture, and it all flows smoothly through to the terrace overlooking the river. Which is slow. And green. And is covered by an elevated highway. That's Japan; I like to refer to this as the Tragedy of Nihonbashi.

For lunch, you get a choice of 4 or 5 sets anchored by soba. These mix it up by combining the soba with miso-grilled pork (like a katsu, but misoed not crumbed, and grilled not fried), a light and faintly Indian-tasting curry, or a chirashi sushi bowl. The soba were pleasantly gray and grainy, but lacking in flavor and texture. They DID come with a healthier complement of condiments, including extra wasabi and also some sliced myoga, and the tray already included a small pot of sobayu, which was unfortunately cold by the time you'd want it. I also had the chirashi, which was kinda chunky and chewy, but in a decent way, and included mostly fish rather than what you get at cheeky places that bulk it out with squid, octopus and egg.

I don't care what anyone else says, I liked this place pretty well. Dinners seem likely to deliver a classy/pricey/not any more delicious/ambiance-focused sorta thing, but might be good since you could sit outside. I'd try it, especially if I needed such a place in Nihonbashi or already worked there.

'Salotta ichi.

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