Thursday, November 5, 2009

Green Phad Thai, Jinbocho

Recent comments have implied that I rarely venture out of the Otemachi Metro Area (or Mon-Naka, I suppose). Nothing could be further from the truth, but I do understand that interesting posts get lost in the daily crush of lunch options. Fortunately it will only be a few more weeks until the end of the 1-year Difference Engine experiment, and then there are lots of places to revisit. If the preceding didn't make sense to you, don't worry. It confused me too.

You know the sporting goods neighborhood? This is essentially the blocks between Jinbocho and Ogawamachi along Yasukuni Dori, and you'd certainly remember if you had been there. Perhaps shopping for snowboards? It seems to be big on that. Oddly enough, the area north of Yasukuni Dori (which kinda bleeds into Ochanomizu and the music store area, which is why I was there) has a few streets that are pretty interesting from a food point of view. Last night I struggled briefly with myself, but managed to avoid the high-end fish specialist (面、おもて; really pretty) and stopped for a quick bite at this cheerful Thai street-food specialist. They have all the right elements for this genre, to wit: metal tables, red-checked tablecloths, stools (though wood and metal, not classy!), posters for Phuket Beer, vapid and assinine but incredibly cute Thai pop on the TV (I swear there was a song dedicated to hula hoops. The chorus was "Hoop...Hoop...Hoop-Hoop".). And they also have a menu full of the things you want to eat - several kinds of salads, noodles, soups, curries.

Few things make me happier than Thai food done well and cheaply. Here, the 'well' dimension is decent. The larb had plenty of lime and mint, but the toasted ground rice was a little chunky for comfort and there was something just slightly off in the overall taste. The somtam was certainly fresh and spicy enough and had dried shrimps for authenticity, but again was missing the last bit of something critical. The sticky rice was a little over-steamed and was uncomfortably soft and sticky to pick up. On the other hand, everything was a third less than the food at the weekend Hoang Ngan, and much tastier, and the service was pleasant and fast.

I can't tell you to make a trip here, but I will without doubt put it on my Jinbocho apres-guitar snacking rotation along with Tinun, over which it has the advantage of being open on Sundays.


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