Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rontan, Awajicho (弄堂)

Does this name really mean 'play room'? I was shut out of the famous tonkatsu place I tried to go to (any hole-in-the-wall place that still has a line at 1:45 must be pretty good), found another closed-for-the-day place that looked nice, and ended up throwing in the towel at this gyoza specialist. Which doesn't serve gyoza for lunch. Pretty much a failure all around, I'd say.

The mapo nasu was a slight redeeming factor, as was the amusingly Chinese service. The master cooked the eggplants up fresh in his wok, so they were heavily smoky in taste, and his interpretation of mapo was mainly oil, with a bit of flavor and a bit of ground pork thrown in - a very simple dish, mostly vegetables. It came with salad, soup, pickles and of course rice. Mildly interesting.

I enjoyed his service though - I asked what the daily special was, the waitress somehow didn't know (at 2 PM?) and asked him. He said 'mapo nasu' in that sort of loud-and-maybe-angry way and then, maybe thinking I didn't get it, yelled, also in Japanese, "It's vegetables. With meat!" tee hee.

On the bright side, the tonkatsu place looks like a keeper (although I can't agree with Seat's assessment about the lines), and there was also a nifty Euro place.


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