Saturday, June 12, 2010

Akatsuki, Jogasaki (暁、城ヶ崎海岸、静岡県)

Let me start off by saying that I don't particularly want you to go here - we got a really weird last-minute deal (65% off? What were they thinking?) that made it worthwhile. If you paid full price, you'd be disappointed despite the excellent location just north of Izu Kogen, within walking distance of the dramatic coastline, big park, and lighthouse. The food, despite being described as their specialty on the web, was mediocre.

The dining room was oddly reminiscent of the place where I went in Kamikochi two years ago. I'm not sure what the rock formations on the wall are supposed to connote, but connote away, my rockies.

Of these starter areas, the sashimi was pretty good. They said they were getting the fish from Futo, the tiny port just up the coast. The duck and onion were nondescript, and the grilled fish, wrapped in paper at right, could not have been drier if we had just left in wrapped in the paper.

Boiled kinmedai, OK. Kinme is evidently a specialty in these parts since it shows up everywhere, especially drying on racks outside stores making himono. This is a very good thing since it's a very good fish, but the cooking could have been a bit better.

I liked this grilled eggplant, mainly because the miso on top was sweetened so heavily. The fried peppers were fried. A heavy dish considering it's all veg.

Right when you were thinking it was time for a substantial dish, here was a portion of seaweed with raw potato on top. Not very satisfying, but the kind of thing that people like to say is good for you.

And when you were still thinking it was time for a substantial dish, it was actually time for a 30-minute wait. The punk kids at the next table (4 under-25 guys going to the spa together. Only in Japan.) actually got up to bug the kitchen, which is unspeakably rude. The sushi was good, but this wait highlights the main issue of the place - the staff for the hotel and restaurant consisted solely of a elderly couple and a youngish girl. The couldn't keep up with the dinner at all. Hopefully they get some more staff on once the season picks up more, because somebody's going to keel over in exhaustion otherwise.

Finishing with yellow watermelon - perhaps a little early in the year, because it was very watery and not so sweet. Check back in a couple months. Actually, don't check back unless you get a very, very good deal.

Which is not to say I didn't enjoy it - the outdoor spa was great, and the water quality was excellent. You should see my skin.

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