Sunday, May 2, 2010

Orenchi, Kawasaki (おれんち)

Long post ahead, watch out. OK? OK. Let's begin.

As begin so many of my best posts (or rather, my worst posts but best memories), The Woodsman was eager to take me to his 'local', i.e. the izakaya down the street from his wooded compound in the forests of Kawasaki. The whole family went along as well! To save you the trouble of reading everything, it's a seriously good izakaya, and I could almost justify a trip out there. I'm even saying that after sitting on the floor for several hours. It's good.

First, a few approach shots from outside, or the entryway. Just funny stuff. 
Here's the type of thing you're in for. If you've been to an izakaya with me...well, no, it's not that predictable, but I DO like old-fashioned places, as long as they have good food and/or drinks. Orenchi has good food, good sake, and Baird beer (plus Belgian beer, plus wine, plus other stuff. It's uncanny.).

Everyone was pretty excited by the trip, especially George, who was sporting Belgian-style mustaches for the occasion.

The counter is nothing special, cramped if anything. We sat in the zashiki room, which is just flooring and not tatami. There's also a room next door with one or two tables, but the cat seemed to be ruling over that one and we weren't allowed to use it.

The cat may be in charge of the sashimi too, because the fishes seem to be selected with a master's eye. There were 6 or 7 varieties on a super-long plate (heh heh), and they were all very good even on a Sunday.

Agedashi eggplant, and really tasty at that. I wonder how to make something as nice as this.

A collage of vegetables so you don't have to suffer through them; unohana, miso-grilled myoga, shredded mountain potato salad, boiled mitsuba with ponzu.

Of course, fish bits and veggies don't placate hungry beasts...especially Charlie.

But the chef very solicitously whipped up an omrice, a huge one, and we all agreed that it was also a really good one too. Including diced scallops in the rice made a huge difference!

Of course we weren't just there to eat omrice and sashimi. Here's the sake list. Nothing too ordinary, decent range, organized by rank...good signs.

Another good sign is the food menu - it had today's date on it. Later I was perusing the sorta 'manifesto' written on a blackboard above the counter and noticed that it said "Naturally we change the menu every day." Always a good sign. I don't trust pre-printed menus. 

This Sugi Isami (Cedar Bravery? What? I can understand 'Hawk Bravery', but cedar?) was a huge win. I commented that any brewery that's going to the trouble of putting the brewing year on their beverages (21 here) is a brewery that's serious about their product and a worthwhile one.

Mmmmmm, fish. I can't remember what he was, but he was grilled very well.

And I can't remember the name of this type of sushi either! Shocking. But it's everything-mixed-together, and at the risk of monotonizing, it was very nice.

Here, the tempura vegetables were just OK, but the tempura snapper bits were terrific.

This was the point where I really fell in love with the place. After hearing in advance how friendly the master and staff were, they seemed a bit stiff to me. It was getting better, but they were pretty full (special opening on a Sunday for Golden Week) and the waitress was rushing. When we ordered these three different sakes at once (Saga prefecture's Shichida in the middle, on the right Tedorigawa, left I can't remember, but that was Grandpa's anyway, so I didn't drink it.), I said "Hey, should I just pour these myself? The waitress said "Sure," and left.

Really? OK, I'll do it! Time for a career revamp, I think. I definitely have some innate skill for pouring glasses right up to the rim.

We soaked up a bit of sake with cheese-garlic fried potatoes...

And in the end everyone was happy!

Home-style fun, but good food and drink. This is what it's all about.


That's Wood, w-o-o-d.


  1. Hahaha,this place likes to use kizami nori.

  2. George and CharlieMay 9, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Thank you Jon! We all enjoyed it very much.

  3. I'm the sister of the woodsman and aunt to that strange looking Belgium boy and that cute looking hungry beast. I had the pleasure of dining at this fine restaurant a couple of months ago and enjoyed every mouthful. Glad you got to experience it too. I wouldn't be upset if that cat some day disappeared!