Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dobro, Kyobashi

First off, Dad, don't get all excited. This has nothing to do with resonator guitars, except in the most glancing way. You'll remember, I'm sure, that the Dopyera brothers were from Slovakia? And 'dobro' means 'good' in their quaint native tongue, or else it's just a contraction of 'DOpyera BROthers'? Well, this is a Croatian restaurant. Not Slovakian. That's as connected as you get, but since the name was familiar and none of the other places in the neighborhood spoke to me, I figured I'd do it.
The interior is downright wacky - the dim lighting is very reminiscent of Eastern Europe, but the real feature of the space is the way you descend through the small marble amphitheater (actually left behind by a Roman legion that used to run a trattoria in the space, but that's a different history). As original memories are lost and objects are repurposed through time, it's not surprising to see the polished stone serving as an ersatz wine cellar.
While still titillated by success at Coulis, the failure at Bistro La Poupee lingered, and I skipped the full course lunch (which is extra-interesting because it comes with the '3-week-pickled cabbage rolls'). The curry rice course (Croatian curry rice, I imagine?) started with cold mango-cream soup (is this dessert? I tried it, thinking it might somehow be savory, then saved it for last, because it wasn't) and two kinds of bread - the roll with caraway and raisins was interesting.
The waiter (who was very helpful and wanted to speak English) has previously mentioned that the salad was quite large, and the menu mentioned its abundance of Nagano vegetables, so this plate came as a bit of a surprise (though no doubt that's just because the salad at Coulis was so magnificent). At least I was able to try the Croatian staple 'tuna pasta salad'; that's comfort food in any language as far as I'm concerned.
This chicken curry plate was kinda successful, again in a very comforting way. The rice was very gummy and chewy, mixed with a lot of tomato-based flavors, and all of that in a good way. It went strangely well with the curry, which I could only describe as 'European-style' since I'm not sure what else to say about it. The fried onions were another helpful addition. Honestly, you wouldn't be too upset about getting this plate by itself for Y1180 at some places, so the rest of the course could be viewed as a bonus.
Dobro originally had Croatian staff, but they're gone. It's hard not to think things like 'must have gone downhill', shackled as we all are by bogus concepts of authenticity. The food here, at least for this lunch, was on the tired side - unless it was just the lighting. A bunch of metal guitars hanging on the walls it would go a long way toward brightening it up.

Shining like a Dobro guitar...

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