Friday, December 11, 2009

Hanabishi, Monzennakacho (花菱)

I do so hate to double up on posts about a place even when I visit more than once, but in this case I think the inclusion of pictures justifies it. Here's the original post from early this year. I actually liked Hanabishi better than the first time and would recommend it to you - atmosphere is just as authentic and good, but the food was better than I remembered. Do note that, based on the evidence of the chef at the place we went after being booted from here at closing time, it's still widely known as "the expensive place", which is a deserved reputation but not painfully so.

Banzai on the counter, not always a nice thing (I've seen it in other places in Monnaka where it's just sad; I'm sure there are sad places even in Kyoto) but on this occasion very appetizing. Also note how the waitresses and master all wear kimonos, as well as the odd and slightly menacing guy in the corner who I think I recognize from around town.

I can never go past a nice mound of pulverized soy bean leavings, can you? Unohana, also known as the leftovers from tofu making (soy fiber, I guess you'd say) mixed with vegetables. It's good when it's a darker color like this, which I think tends to mean it's been cooked in broth.

Two cuts of buri plus shimesaba.

Soup curry.

Personal-size sukiyaki, reheated from the banzai on the counter instead of being sizzled up fresh, but still really good. It occurs to me that salty-sweet desserts were very popular this year (and I'm saying that in the past tense, because I feel like they kinda mainstreamed and peaked over the summer) but sukiyaki and a number of other Japanese savory foods have been doing soy + sugar since time immemorial. Did I spell that right?

Hanabishi is a very old-fashioned place. I really felt like the waitresses were forbidding the first time I went; this time was a little better, but they're still not the warmest people around. Thus, when they served us these extremely good deep-fried squid leggs, unannounced and for free, I knew they were about to close and kick us out.


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