Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hanya, Kitami (はん家,喜多見)

A funny thing about Tokyo - doesn't matter where you are, no matter how small the station or how little you've previously known about it. There's always a good chance that somebody has opened up their dream restaurant there, be it an izakaya, bistro, trattoria or food truck. But usually it's an izakaya.

Hanya occupies a really nice basement space in Kitami, just next to the bigger, fancier Seijo Gakuen station. This is an izakaya that would be at home just about anywhere though; it could remind you of places in Shibuya, or Ebisu, or Asakusa...depending on your frame of reference. With the smoky, woody interior (the smoke is from grilling, don't worry), all-horikotatsu seating, and pretty decorations, it's the kind of place that attracts girls in yukata on hot summer nights.

The girls are probably not there for the sake selection, but you might well be. There's a back side to this page too, so there are 10 or 12 in total. Mostly junmaishu, mostly things I'd never heard of. Always neat to run into a place where they have their own ideas about the drinks and aren't swayed by any conformity pressures.

Their serving style is unique too - the vinegared-tomato starter comes in a masu, while the sake comes in a wine glass. That little tomato salad was nice...

as was the bigger salad with nagaimo. Crunchy, slimy, nagaimo. It's really hard to explain to people who haven't eaten is, no?

This was a fireworks night, and we went afterward. That meant they were running out of food...or rather, had run. They did still have the new season sanma, which was terrific, and also some tuna.

But after that it became a fun guessing game, as other tables got food that they had previously ordered, and we would try to get some only to learn that it was gone. The big platter of delicious-looking kushi was especially frustrating. All we got were these pork negima, and they were good enough to make us want more...but there was no more.

A nice place, one that would bear more investigation if you lived in the area. Too bad we couldn't evaluate the food better!

Next time?

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