Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hina, Takasaki (雛)

Really, I walked around Takasaki exhaustively. If you go, I don't think you need to do much research. Aside from these three, the other place to try is called Sawa, and is quite close to the station. But the third (and final, yes) place I visited on this night was at the far north end of the decrepit 'Central Ginza' covered arcade - an excellent example of the breed, where even some of the hostess clubs were shut down (if you remember my Maebashi trip, that was the only thing in town that looked healthy). The menu was a little average looking, but printed on the day (when I went by in the morning, it was still dated yesterday, so they really do change it every day. Or at least print it.), and there were many varieties of sake, so I came back.

It looks good, right? I also like the way they had a kerosene heater outside, cranked all the way up and heating the great outdoors.

But I'm glad they left it outside, because it was sweltering indoors. Great atmosphere, eh? Another preserved or restored townhouse, in this case I guess they had converted the former dirt-floor part into the kitchen and counter. I'm also partial to places that put their seating in horikotatsu format, raised to meet the counter. It's cool.

Another cool thing is the fridge (har har). Any fridge stocked with sake is a good fridge by me.

Immediately receiving two toushi, I was pretty impressed (and a little taken aback since I was so full from oden). Left side is your basic niku-jaga, except more like niku-gobo. And no shirataki. Maybe it's a different dish, actually. Right side is eggplant and beans.

Here's the sake list - I'll largify it so you can read more easily, especially since sake is one of my key themes for the year (along with grower champagne!). This is 16 varieties by the glass plus another 8 available in 4-go size (that being a little over 721 ml) - which I think is pretty good. I wondered about freshness considering the lack of customers, but it was late, and there were the two guys at the end of the bar with hostess girlfriends.

One Russian.

Really a nice place. Wouldn't you love to live here, assuming it was insulated and heated properly? And wasn't in Gunma?

Beef tataki. Yeah, I like to eat a little meat once in a while. Sue me. Not bad.

Grilled Shimonita negi. I mentioned a few posts back that there's nothing famous in Gunma except these, so I had them again. They were good. And I was sooo done for the night. I think it was already 10, late by country standards.

I can't recommend a visit to Takasaki, but if you find yourself there, you sure won't starve.

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