Friday, June 4, 2010

Manaita, Kanda (まないた)

Kanda...where magic happens.

I like to call this 'Still Life With Koala', but she's not that still. Manaita (cutting board) is the kind of place whose quality is screamingly obvious to me. Gently-flapping noren, hand-written sign and menus, immaculately clean, freshly-sanded'd be silly to not like this place. A lot. I definitely recommend it for lunch, but I also promise that you're gonna struggle to find it.  Incidentally, if you're wondering why I go to so many places that I think are great, I can make you a list of all the ones I walk by to get to them. It's just that there are so damn many places in Tokyo!

Nothing fancy, but deeply comforting. The master (not pictured) used to be an architect and worked in New York, hence his passable English. Now he's retired and chooses to spend his retirement opening 6 days a week to serve high-quality lunch sets and (probably) even better dinners. With a face somewhere between Jimmy Stewart, a Norman Rockwell painting, and my dad, it's downright pleasant to sit and watch him work, making a little conversation from time to time.

You've gotta feel privilged to see a chef doing this kinda business right in front of you - it's rare and interesting. I asked if I could take a picture, OK? This is some awful nice-looking tuna, which was subsequently cut up and lightly soaked in soy sauce in anticipation of becoming a set-lunch bowl. Your other options are sashimi, grilled fish, or a different species of grilled fish (it does say 'fish cuisine' on the sign)

You've gotta feel even more privileged when every Y1k lunch set includes this plate of starters as well as a bowl of rice, very good soup, and a small dessert.

The house specialty is this salmon, and we thusly sloped off in that direction. Much the opposite of our work, this was deeply gratifying: heavily salted, loaded with fat (call it Omega 3 Fatty Acid if you want), the skin roasted to a frazzle...just about perfect, really. Koala wasn't eating the skin, which earned her a chiding from me, and earned me a correction from her since she was saving it to enjoy at the end.

Getting back here at night sounds like an imperative.

Hey, good luck out in the world, OK?


  1. This place looks great. Love the manaita the chef is using to slice maguro. Close to Kanda station?

  2. Thank you! I went here Wednesday and this is exactly the type of place I've been looking for. I used to go to a great mom and pop place in Tsukishima when I worked in that area and I've really missed having some great grilled fish. I wish the price was a tad lower, but I can't complain. Excellent.

  3. Why'd you go without me?! Well, maybe next time. Glad you liked it!