Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kamekichi, Kanda (亀吉)

I know what you're thinking.

OK, I actually don't, because no one ever really knows what someone else is thinking. But what I'M thinking right now is "Why isn't this place called Kameyoshi?" I'm not even sure about the name, but The Googles seem to think it's Kamekichi (except for the sites who write the romanized version 'kamekiti' or something else unreadable to the average Westerner).

And now I know what YOU'RE thinking, which is "stop pretending you know any Japanese and get on with the food, big-ears!" Thus with no further adieu, let us hence.

The west side shopping street near Kanda station has all sorts of delights, if you're delighted by fast food and pachinko. So Wolf, 'Her Name Is' Rio and I set about going there to see what was what, and to avoid the eel place that Wolf has already been to twice (me none). It's not quite summer, so we don't need to replenish that much power yet. We got halfway down the street before realizing that we should go back to Kamekichi, a brutally cheap and terribly authentic-looking outpost of all things standard and old-fashioned in set lunches.

You already know what the teishoku choices are: Saba Miso. Sanma Yaki. Menchi katsu. Karaage. Prices range from Y500-Y600 (menchi Y530). Comes with hakkusai pickles, a bit of tofu, soup, a lot of rice. Tolerable cooking, although Wolf and I both had a laugh at the frying, which was very dark. It didn't seem overly-fried though, so maybe it's just really, really old oil. Remember that place somewhere in America where they never clean the fryer, they just keep putting new oil in it? And when they changed locations, they took the fryer, full of oil, with them on a truck? Me too!

The distinguishing factor would have to be the decor, which is more yellowed than the average. Some casually hand-written menu items really appear to have been on the walls for 30 years, judging by the yellowing, curling, and evidenced will-to-concede shown by their paper bearers. There are a couple beer and idoru posters that seem just a touch sexier than usual. All dining has to be done around one of the three tables - I presume you have to share with other people, but you're going to get cozy in any case.

This one gets authenticity points, but no return visits. There are too many places like this closer to home for when you feel down-market.


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