Monday, November 9, 2009

Farm, Tokyo

Saturday, I bought a ramen magazine that focused on recently-opened stores. Surprisingly, it had quite a few places in my general neighborhood. Disappointingly, I had been to most of them! One that I remembered looking good was in the basement of the Asahi/Nihon Building - I had been perhaps unfairly biased against it because of its shabby surroundings. Today I went to try it, and found that it's already been replaced by a different noodle shop. Confused, I walked around the hallways to make sure I had the right place. By the time I had verified that my target shop wasn't hiding anywhere else, I came back to find 10 people in line. Disgruntled, I went across the street to Tokyo Station to try the tiny, oddly-placed curry specialist I've been looking at for a while.

This is one of those odd places where you have to wonder about their business. It's shoehorned into the hallway on the Yaesu side across from the construction, just north of the souvenir stores - that is, in an area with no other restaurants. It's truly small, with mainly a central island counter for seating. And it only serves curry.

With choices ranging from vegetable curry (two kinds) to keema to katsu and chicken, I picked the upper-class veg curry. This means the slightly thin sauce is topped with a selection of separately-cooked vegetables - eggplant, broccoli, potatoes, carrots. It was actually better than expected; the curry was less artificially-meaty than a lot of Japanese chain places, and the vegetables, while obviously pre-cooked, weren't done to death. And they were still vegetables, so almost by definition were better than scarfing another deep-fried porkchop. Not sure if the curry was macrobiotic. Perhaps you could check that on a followup visit? As curry shops go, this one is pretty good.

In a continuation of the Farm theme, and a weird tie-in with other aspects of my recent history, the music on the overheads was bluegrass! The first song was a version of They Don't Play George Jones on MTV (an odd choice for a bluegrass version, George Jones being pretty far from bluegrass) and after that I recognized Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver singing Julie Ann Come On Home, a song I always found affecting as a kid despite its overblown emotionality. Tokyo never ceases to surprise.

The coincidences continue - this place is a one-off, but is in the same group as Perola Atlantica (next to Le Pre Verre, where I ate Saturday lunch) and Akasaka Portugese Vilamoura, which I walked by on Saturday.

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