Saturday, May 22, 2010

Carne, Monzen Nakacho

If you count the previous two posts, this was the third place in Monnaka that I've been thinking of going to for years and finally made it to all on the same evening. Like the other two, it was pretty disappointing. As a self-appointed restaurant-picking expert and all-around Monnaka booster, I don't feel good about that. Carne sounds like it should be a bar with decent food, right? Like maybe they'd have stewed meat or something? No. They have weird Christmas lights, and festive peppers aplenty though.

It's just dark and moody in the usual weathered way. The mama was pleasant, and there were actually three other customers. If I've never mentioned this, izakayas are mostly a weeknight thing, and the area where this bar lives is basically an izakaya area. Monnaka is a weeknight entertainment district.  I liked the older couple who came in around 9 on their way home from a wedding. It's sweet to see people who want to stop off for a drink together even though they're Japanese and have been married for a while.

The drinks were pleasant, I suppose, although a bit dark. There's some glass wine as well as a full bar. Food extends to about 20 items of the snacky, easily-maintained variety - fish preserved in oil, prepared meats, olives and the like. This is no crime; in fact I almost ordered the oil sardines because I was thinking of the best sardines in the world, at the best ham shop in the world, but I pulled myself up short and avoided sullying their memory through an inferior association.

Snack with the drink was 'sweet natto', which I like quite a bit. It's candied beans. That's weird, isn't it? I've just gotten used to it, I guess.

What's weirder is raisin butter. No bread, no toast. Just butter mixed with a lot of raisins. To eat. With your drink. I ordered this because it's weird, and I like to get things that just sound weird sometimes, and it didn't disappoint. If you never considered eating butter by itself, or you're one of those people who puts a delicate film of butter on their bread, you should avoid this. It's like eating butter. With raisins. On ice.

Note however that if you see raisin butter sandwich cookies, you should go all crazy on that. They're incredible. Ogawaken is the famous ones, and you can get them in the souvenir food plaza in Tokyo Station (as well as the real stores, like in Kamakura).

By the way, don't drink the melted water after you eat the butter. It's gross.

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