Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Okamo's Diner, Monzennakacho

Yo Okamo, whassup?  You've been doing business in my town for years (2), I dunno why I never stopped by. Misguided effort to limit caloric intake on weeknights, I suppose.

Okamo is here, hiding below a much bigger sign for a pub. (Yes, a "pub", if you know what I mean. But not like you're thinking. Monnaka is very clean in that sense.) Okamo's actual place is on the second floor of the building with the old Sushi Zanmai at ground level, which has the darts bar D-Spec on the third floor (not sure why I never wrote a post about D-Spec. Nice bar.)

That picture wasn't so readable, but Okamo sells 'sushi and original dish' (es), and he's doing a good job of it, woudja believe. I don't mean this in a bad way, but between his size and the framed, inscribed sumo schedule on the wall, I'm wondering if his original career wasn't in the wrestling line. He's a big, friendly guy who clearly likes a laugh.

AND a can of Spam. When's the last time you saw this? Sheesh. And the flavors!
Seriusly, I was reminded of my old friend Vic, who used to be pretty fat (I can say this because I used to be pretty fat too, and he and I both lost a lot of weight since the time we worked together).  Someone (quite possibly me) once described him as 'jolly', to which he said "You're just saying that because I'm fat." Since that was true, I've been much more guarded about using 'jolly' in common parlance since then. Okamo is jolly, although I wouldn't want to call him that in a dark alley.

Fortunately, it's just that he loves America, not that he's been there or speaks American or suchlike. His fresh springrolls really reminded me of New York-style sushi, or California-style sushi, or at least some kinda American-style sushi. With tons of sweet chili sauce. And all good.

So yeah, I had to get the Spam Steak. The flavor is pretty good, but the texture is a little disturbing, to be honest (it's a new policy. I thought I would try being honest and speaking my mind on the blog for a change.) This is just too soft to be considered meat. Now Scrapple, it's cool because you know it's full of crap, or rather is made of nothing but crap, and that's expected. I guess it's just been so long since I had Spam that I forgot what it was like, and expected something more meaty. Weird. I don't recommend it.

Check out the wacky little Oreo dippers and the wackier, littler (relative to the actual item) old-fashioned fridge! It's funny, Okamo really loves America, but that only shows in these odd little decorations around the place. It's not like he has burgers on the menu.

He does have sushi on the menu. I was a little skeptical since the case is small and so is the restaurant, and it just didn't seem like it would be that good. But I was sitting in front of Ebisu, and he seemed to be saying "Getcher damn hands of my beer, maaaaaan" while simultaneously offering up a huge (proportionally) tray of sushi, so what the hey.

Okamo (incidentally, I really hope that's his name, otherwise...well, it still wouldn't matter) said it was cool to get sushi from one piece, and I asked if that was really true, and he said it really was, and I took him up on that with a vengeance. I like the fact that he has a lot of prepared stuff on the menu; dunno if he makes the egg himself. The other thing in the back is menegi (chive buds). In front, kohada, shimesaba, hirame kobujime. See? All three of those are prepared items (the first two lightly pickled, the 3rd wrapped in seaweed for a while). I really enjoyed these since they were all so firm and meaty. Good stuff! Oddly, I did find myself wishing there was more vinegar in the rice, which I imagine Auntie N would also have thought.

I was thinking about this Luxeat post while I was eating, because this was pretty damn good sushi considering it was in a place calling itself a 'diner' and charging (average) $2 per nigiri.  (A piece of sushi, is not called 'a sushi', btw, and the plural isn't 'sushis'. If it looks like this you should probably call it a nigiri. OK, that's enough.)

 Bottom line - Okamo is cool. Check it out.

1 comment:

  1. I am sure Auntie N would have said "more vinegar" as well. I have a feeling I like this place. Does he make Spam rolls and Spam rice balls? Not that I ever want to eat it. Jon, you should try Auntie N's no-craple Scrapple (http://norioonwine.blogspot.com/2010/03/scrapple.html).