Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ohashi, Nihonbashi (小割烹おはし,COREDO)

Today marks the 10th month of no-repeat lunching (as well as the first day of the rest of your life!). Seriously, I don't feel any shortage of places to go, and could easily finish out the year. Remains to be seen, I guess. Including some non-repeat dinners, the blog and map now must feature close to 200 destinations in greater Tokyo (including Otemachi, Marunouchi, Nihonbashi and Kanda). Live it up, you crazy kidz. Without further ado, let's dive right into the gooey mass that is October lunch:

Paeans of Tomato                              

I'm skeptical for some reason about the 4th floor of Coredo. When I'm there, all the places look good but a little off in some way. But when ever I try one, I like it. So I should just shut up and get on with explaining the mostly-vegetarian lunch set I had at Ohashi, which was excellent.

The title 'Ko-Kappou' (or is it sho?) is still exciting to me; I have a residual respect for the term (a grade up from izakaya, in theory, and more focused on food since the name is 'cooking' rather than 'Hey, we've got liquor!') despite being disappointed a number of times. But I don't expect to find a kappou in the food floor of a shopping/office building, and I don't like it when they call themselves 'small' but are obviously normal-sized. You're not going to be sitting at a counter facing the master, let's put it that way.

You are going to go through an offset entryway that totally shields the diners from the street, and you are going to be surrounded by rough, dark wood, and you will sit on country-style benches with thin cushions. I'd love to try it for dinner (and would have last night, except that we didn't want any English speaking people around, especially from our competitors, one of whom is based in the same building as Ohashi; we ended up going to Hanaya, of which I can now say conclusively: good atmosphere, funny old waitress; recommended for the fish, either raw or cooked; skip the meats, either raw or cooked).

For lunch, there are half a dozen sets. It's normal stuff for the most part, with some attention to detail to distinguish it. The grilled fish sets for the women next to me looked like high-quality salmonz that were grilled properly, but I was more interested in the egg-based menu items. There's one set of omelette with eel, and then the even-less-meat plain omelette set that I got (Y1250, not cheap).

The omelette itself (I keep saying this, but it's really dashimaki tamago, OK?) was nice, and had been artfully rolled (i.e. not square) with some interesting treatment that gave it a smooth, fluted exterior. Pretty! The rice was excitingly plump, shiny and...white! I eat mostly brown rice at home these days, so white rice is almost like kandy. Almost. The soup was good, but the really nice bits were, brace yourself, the spicy fish eggs and boiled salty clams...You know, the guy I had dinner with last night was saying I've been here too long, and it's things like this... but I love mentaiko, the spiced fish eggs (tiny eggs, not like big salmon eggs) that in this case were de-sac'ed and somehow whipped a bit with, I think, some plum. I also love Tsukudani, which is a style of cooking that I'm mildly protective of since it originated near my apartment. In this case, the ingredients that they had chosen to boil extensively in sweetened soy sauce were tiny clams (shijimi?) and tiny fish (jako?). None of this sounds that appetizing, but, in the same way that miso soup instantly seemed to me like a comfort food, I've come to enjoy them. A lot.

Honestly, I know this is a little basic, but it was basically good, honest food with quality ingredients. I'd go back here any time for lunch, if I ever did such things, and would be very happy to go for dinner. Hint hint.

Well, the group has 27 shops of various types in the Tokyo area; only 2 Ohashi-branded though. Well done for corporate food.
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