Saturday, May 22, 2010

Miyoshi, Monzen Nakacho (みよし)

Have you heard of Tatsumi Shindo, the odd little bricked pedestrian street near Monzennakacho crossing that holds a solid 20 counter-only izakayas and drinking holes? It should be fun, but it's not, not so much. It's the kind of place you want to love, but doesn't feel at all welcoming. Still, I have a constant fascination with it, frequently walking up and down trying to pick a place to go into and rarely doing it (and even then not always being happy with the results). Tonight, we had the idea to go to a couple places there, and made it to at least one before heading for other pastures.

The one was Miyoshi, at the south end of the street. The open door and swaying noren look very inviting...but the door's open because Mama's out! We went in and poked around, saying hello, and finally when we gave up and started leaving she came back from across the street, presumably where she had been chatting with another similarly-underemployed shop master.

This was one of those funny experiences that you have sometimes - such a talkative woman, in a funny way, and the short hair and smoking and something about her voice reminded me of my grandmother in a pleasant way (although a LOT more energy). However she was also hard as hell to understand, jumping around between topics and spitting out rapid-fire colloquialisms, and we really just wanted to relax and not talk to masters so much...

But some of the random things she dished up after apologizing for not having any food were quite good! This clear soup with fish ball and fresh greens was delicious.

As was, oddly, this melange of fried shrimp, scrambled eggs, roasted onions and sprouts atop shredded cabbage. This is the kind of thing I'd make with leftovers in the fridge, but it was really nice.

Oh, the funny story is that when we went in, there was no one there, but this bowl of sauteed fuki (Japanese celery) was steaming on the counter. It was a little like a movie where the hod of the car is still warm, or the coffee is still hot, but no one's home. Because the aliens got them.

As a service, we got these pickles, billed as a specialty of Nikko. It's a hollowed-out daikon filled with konbu and other types of pickles. Crunchy in that way that makes you feel healthy just looking at it. When I bit into one and chewed for a while, Mama said "Ahhh, what a nice sound!"

Well, that's another place on Tatsumi Shindo. There are only one or two more that I think might be worthwhile, funny if not delicious.

Cross it off the list, Bob.

1 comment:

  1. I dunno but it brings back the memories of when we walked around Asakusa after eating and drinking in a few places to find one more place. We went into this tiny really tiny place with a counter of 4 seats and koagari with 8. We felt like intruders. Mama-san was cozy with one female costumer and a group of regulars in the koagari. She was surprise to see us. We had some sake with small dishes and finally we ordered Ochazuke with salmon which was on the menu (I can read Japanese). She pulled out a small piece of salted salmon from the freezer and made ochazuke for us. It was not really good.You are lucky to have so many choices you can try. I miss that.