Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Masuya, Tsukishima (ますや)

Yeah, this does indeed mean that I went back to roam around Tsukishima for a second night. I had seen Masuya on the previous evening and liked the seriously down-home look - brown country-style sliding door, extra supplies piled outside, lively sounds from within. And hey, what are Wednesdays for?

Inside was indeed more homey than Sakura - mainly because it was almost full. The L-shaped counter had about 10 people at it, and they filtered in and out over the course of dinner. The menu was a whiteboard that the master and his wife would take down and pass around when someone needed it, and was a pleasantly disorganized collection of normal fish and izakaya stuff, with lots of options for how you could get your fish cooked and a few fried things thrown in.

Mixed sashimi (if you ever eat at an izakaya with me, I guarantee we'll have some mixed sashimi) started things off - suzuki and shime saba (and I don't guarantee, but will give odds, that we'll have shime saba). These were both OK, flirting with being good while not actually doing it. Summer problem? Sourcing issues? Dunno. Sashimi is served with fresh seaweed here (aonori) which is a nice little condiment. Had a small boiled fish later (a kinki, in fact, and I only mention it because I love saying it); boiled is a misnomer since it's simmered in soy sauce and the other standard Japanese cooking liquids. This was a very good fish, smooth and buttery, but I felt like his cooking liquor was a little weak and uninspired.

As with the previous night, vegetables were a high point. In this case it was the eggplant - a whole 'water eggplant' (水ナス) that had been lightly pickled and then broken apart into wedges by hand. Served with hot mustard, it was textural, flavorful, satisfying and summery. Boiled spinach was dull.

This was an OK place, with some good food. The master turned out to be less outgoing, which is too bad, and the other customers weren't of the 'tease and feed the foreigner' variety, which was also too bad. Oh, and when I asked for sake, I asked for 'dry and light' and the master said "We don't have anything like that. What do you want, cold sake? He served a sweet, heavy one that was pretty lousy. And there was one fun surprise at the end - the bill was 30 or 40% higher than I expected.

Well, live and learn. Next time in Tsukishima, Monja!

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