Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taikourou, Yaesu (泰興楼)

I'm starting to feel like a Shitamachi dining insider - this very good recommendation from Ricky is a gyoza specialist (with a broad menu) whose branch is Gyoza Bar Fei, in Kayabacho, tidily reversing my own dining trend between last night and today. I don't really remember the gyoza at Fei, but I'll remember the ones at TKR.

The streets of Yaesu, east of the Tokyo Station Daimaru, are a minor warren of restaurants - in fact the same neighborhood that I was looking down on during lunch Monday. One could probaby go months without repeating there, but Ricky knew where we were going, and go we did. TKR subscribes to the 'food hall' style of Chinese decor, which means black and red, with black low and red high. Aces are wild.

No need to open the menu - the gyoza sets are on the front. I followed Ricardo's lead with the 6-gyoza set and after a pleasantly long wait (good to feel they're doing something) dishes filtered over to us. The first thing was dessert (an interesting sort of thin almond tofu) along with some heavily pickled daikon with slivered yuzu peel (these were very good. Should I make them at home?). After that the rice and soup arrived at the same time as the main event, the center-ring contender plate of gyoza.

Good gyoza, good gyoza. These are of the jumbo variety (perhaps 4 inches, not 2-3), but it seems they've adjusted the thickness of the dough to compensate for the increased length and payload. The filling is curiously mild, but still satisfying. If anything, it allows you to eat more of them...I also think their work on the frying was exemplary - too many times the bottom (that part that cooks directly on the metal while the rest of the dumpling steams in the covered pan) isn't crisp. Here, the bottom was crisp, with a papery brown layer or cooked flour that didn't soften much when dipped in sauce. This is exactly how it should be.

Good lord I'm sleepy after that...
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