Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Matsusou, Yurakucho (まつ惣)

When Roofie and I agreed to meet for dinner in Yurakucho, visions of cheerful-cheep-chicken excellence at Tonton danced in my head. Unsurprisingly, they had started dancing in the heads of dozens of others long before we got there. This is why I always reserve these days; it's just not worth the risk.

And that's how we ended up on one of the few empty seats on any of the numerous chicken places along Yurakucho's Chicken Alley (I dunno what it's really called, but it's mostly outdoor-seating yakitori like this). Most places were full, so we let a kindly old guy direct us inside his tent. So to speak.

Inside there was a party goin' on. There must be a party on this street every night of the week. Conditions are rudimentary and cramped, chicken is decent and reasonably-priced, and drinks flow freely.

Tsukune flows freely too. Matsusou is the only place of 4 I've now been to on this street that does not describe their tsukune as their famous item, and I can see why. Too dry, weird texture. Not actively bad, but not good enough to build a reputation on.

Mushrooms and peppers. A bit limp.

Pork belly; Roofie swore he hated this, but lapped it up when it came. 'Lapped' is a relative term; it wasn't that soft.

These fried octopus bit were terrible - expensive, and such small portions! Seriously, the batter was thin and greasy. Hard to accomplish such a bad level of fry.

This is a mackerel, believe it or not. It's awfully big! Wasn't bad; a little dry.

This place is different from the others in that the menu is quite big and includes lots of fish items, salads, etc. Honestly, that's not such a great thing. If you want salads, go somewhere else. In fact, if you want grilled chicken in Yurakucho, you should probably go somewhere else too. Distinctions between these places are fine, but Matsusou was a little less distinguished than the others I've been to.

The highest point for me was probably the staff. This guy, who pulled us in, was seriously nice in a kindly-uncle sort of way (I've sadly realized that I can't keep calling guys this age 'grandpa' any more). One of the young guys was really nice too, making an effort to speak some English, which goes along with their very complete menu - every item pictured and labeled in English! Seemed like some of the drink selections written on paper on the walls weren't translated to the English drinks menu (sake especially), but I think it's a crime to drink anything but beer or cheap shochu mixers at a place like this (yes, lots of Hoppy in effect、and no, I have still never tried it.).

惣惣惣惣惣
03-3592-6551

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