Thursday, October 22, 2009

Manhyo, Monzen Nakacho (万俵)

Look, I'm just guessing on the title on this one, OK? It means something like '10,000 bags' though, which is a funny little name when you think about it. This place is across the street from various other destinations (my cleaner, Mahoroba, Tsurugi, almost Petit Nice, Ogawa...I could go on about this stuff forever) but I had never been in - frankly it looks too convivial to dine alone. There's something about a bright, lively, open environment that just depresses me. When I eat dinner alone, I want to do it in a quiet place where I can talk to the master and relax.

The theme here seems to be 'izakaya', and I mean that as a joke. It's just a bright, lively, open izakaya with a bunch of different foods for cheap. We started with sashimi; sanma was tolerable but didn't live up to the autumn excellence it's known for. Hamachi was on the menu but not available; there was kanpachi instead, and it was outstanding. May I reiterate my philosophy on fish? Keep eating it and you're bound to have some wonderful experiences. It's silly to complain about it not being stellar every time. Just pick a place that's inside your price range and keep trying. It does my heart good to be rewarded for my patience when a cheap piece of fish is delicious.

Other items? The yakitori was OK but not up to the standards of a specialist (negima mediocre, tsukune pretty good, tongue weird but decent). The mixed fry was not up to the standards of a specialist, but it was interesting in that it included one big piece each of chicken and mackerel - odd items to get fried on sticks, and they were pretty good.

So it's not a specialist in anything. We knew that going in. It would be a great place to relax with the guys after work, which is what everyone else was doing!

Ouch, right in the tawaras...

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