Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jirokichi, Kanda (次郎吉)

Ooog. Big bowl of noodles, hot hot day, patient is comatose. Yahoo says it's only 90/32 degrees, but I don't believe it. I was out there.

Same general area of Kanda today. Actually the same street, not the threatened pizza place around the corner. There's always tomorrow. Or Monday. But I thought of a fun project next week that will let EOIKwJ continue the streak (now 5 days) and also bore you well and truly into submission. Stay tuned, or check back, and make sure to tell all your friends, because it's going to be really exciting. Really really. Like in Shrek.

But for now, it's Jirokichi! This place is so cute - a big, natural weave noren that they've slung up over one corner, and just next to the door a small table with four Captain Stag camping chairs arranged around a big ashtray. I can fully imagine sitting out there at night, drinking some mellow Tennessee sippin' sake, a-swattin' at the chiggers and tellin' coon tales.

Back in Tokyo, the inside of this place is dark and cool during the day, which is both good for the many bottles of attractive sake arranged all over the shop and good for the customers who are enjoying steaming noodles on a sweltering day. I got confused by the menu, which I think is night-only and is in any case hand-written using some dastardly kanji. I also missed the blackboard right over my head, and somehow forgot that I don't like curry noodles that much, and after that series of unfortunate coincidentally serendipitous eventualizations I just ordered the "Super spicy curry noodles!" that I saw outside (めっちゃ辛麺, 八五0円). (Rest of the menu is normal - Salt Ramen with Pork Belly and the like).

Funny stuff, that curry. If you've never had curry noodles but have had Japanese curry, you can just imagine what would happen if you thinned down the sauce, filled a bowl with it, and plopped some noodles in it. This sauce was thicker and browner than some other places (notably the famous Konaya chain), though not especially hot, and it tasted just like a regular curry. It was just as good when ladeled over the superfluous bowl of rice that accompanied the massive bowl of noodles, but nowhere near as meccha as claimed. The noodles themselves were very good - first time I can remember having thin ramen-style noodles rather than thick, extra-slippery, even-more dangerous udon (which is why Konaya serves every bowl with a bib), and with a good coating of sauce they went down as smooth as my pappy's ol' white lightning. Sheeee-it!

Back in Kanda, it seems to be traditional to use spinach as a garnish; this bowl had it too. On the other hand, it also replaced roast pork with a slice of roast beef, which was a clever and amusing thing to do. I was amused, but not necessarily clever. That's really in the eye of the beholder.

I got through most of the bowl, but not the rice, and not the huge, rapidly-wilted lettuce leaf that underlay the whole bowl of noodles - another fun touch. Sweating profusely, I stumbled out to stroll around Chuo dori and slowly roll my way back to my bike. Buying an iced can coffee, I rode back to the office with all the speed I could muster, which is to say that of a typical 70 year old grandmother. Ooog.

What's a coon tale?
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