Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Momijigawa, Nihonbashi (紅葉川)

For a solid year of workdays, I've visited a different restaurant every day (except two times when I had bentos, and a third time when I didn't eat). And on those nights when I went out after work, I generally managed to get to new places also. Minus vacations and holidays, that means better than 250 new and exciting dining options have graced our collective radar in the Otemachi area alone (I'm including you in the project).  The strangest thing about this is how easy it was - there is still no lack of places to try, and there are even some that I'm excited about. Still, I've grown a little tired of explaining to friends that we really can't go to that place today, sorry, but how about this one instead? That means from next year it's open season, but I'll continue to go to new places whenever possible.

I wish I could write a book about this. Unfortunately both of you have read the reviews already, and any office ladies who might be interested in Kanda bistro options are most certainly well-served by existing Japanese-language publications, both electronic and papular (that's the web 2.0 word for 'junk on paper'). Many people have asked about the first things on my 'revisit list' once the restrictions are lifted; I meant to do that this week, but will get to it eventually as a special feature.

It would have been nice to do something special for the last day of the year, and I even had plans to do so, but work intervened with a lunch meeting scheduled last night. Fortunately I avoided embarassment and also managed to get to a place I've seen a hundred times (on my bike route to work) and always wanted to try. Even better, it's a soba specialist, which is ideal to fit with Japanese year-end customs (eating long noodles = long life. Sure it's a couple days early, but it's never too soon to lengthen your life, is it?).

Even better than soba, Momijigawa is a specialist in kamoseiro, i.e. soba served with a duck-based soup. And now that I've gotten this far into an indulgent review, I'll just say - this was the best kamoseiro I can remember having. The soup was fatty, rich and nuanced, the pieces of duck (both breast slices and meatballs) were numerous and not chewy (the most common problem plaguing this dish for me), and it had enough vegetables and yuzu to stay interesting. The noodles were very cold and firm, so they heated up perfectly in the soup. They were very light color, but I'd like to attribute that to the fineness of the grind and not to an abundance of added wheat flour (they have a stone grinder by the door, whirring slowly away as you walk in). Even better, it was among the cheaper kamoseiro I've had in my life. On the whole, I think they've perfected the formula (including the fast service and high turnover!). Worth a visit.

Yo-yo-良いお年 and all like dat. Daily lunch, signing off.

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