Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Seigetsu, Kagurazaka (霽月)

Things wound down naturally as the crew worked through the sake menu at Shutoan. After 2 hours we started thinking our business was pretty near complete, and we were itching to visit another establishment. Poshand put in a quick call to Seigetsu, in nearby Kagurazaka - previously recommended by Journey and also pre-confirmed as being open on the holiday - and we were off to the train.

Here's what we found in Kagurazaka - an empty street. It's kinda uncanny to see it like this; usually the sidewalks are pretty full here at the bottom of the hill where Waseda Dori meets Sotobori Dori. (I'm interested to see on the map that there must have been a famous market just north of that intersection, because the area is called 'Kagura River market'.) 

Seigetsu is not actually that close, but Kagurazaka is a great neighborhood for walking, and soon enough we were in the door, taking off shoes and admiring the selection in the fridge. The web site says they have a lot of sake; the lists that we saw weren't so comprehensive, but who really needs more than 20 sakes on a night? There were more than that.

And we got to work, confusing the waitress by saying that we'd use our own glasses (true! I thought it would be cool to distribute commemorative glasses, and had picked up half a dozen chokko at the annual ceramics market which happened to be taking place in Kiba Park. Good timing!).

This was described as Yanaka ginger, and I like to think it was really grown in Yanaka. It's fun to think of a product that's famous for being grown inside Tokyo proper, which Yanaka ginger originally was (although now it's probably just the shape and size that distinguish it). Yanaka is a little area north of Ueno - follow the street on the west side of the big pond, and you'll come to a series of stations like Nezu and Sendagi that have tolerably interesting, old-fashioned shopping streets attached to them. Ehhh, you probably know this. Never mind.

Tsukune cooked on paddles - plenty of sauce, very tasty.  I can't resist writing this - I like my tsukune like I like my women: saucy and paddled.

Since we had been cruelly deprived of the traditional izakaya sashimi starter at Shutoan, we were all up for a selection. (Paranthetically, my ordering pattern at izakayas is pretty well locked in at this point - start with a beer, get some raw fish and vegetables, then move on to grilled or boiled things, and finish with fried and maybe rice. It's more or less like the sequence you get in kaiseki, and it seems to make sense.) While each morsel was on the small side, the succulent pink flesh was beyond reproach.  Actually I don't remember at all, but I wanted to write that.

Filling things out with grilled nigiri topped with fuki miso (I promise). I think they could have been toasted more, and more evenly, but putting bitter fuki buds in the miso is always welcome at my table.

Clearly, magic was in the air. Let's do it again.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, sooner rather than later.
    Notice that the magic twinkles above Poshand and I are shaped like Japan. Amaterasu be praised!