Friday, November 12, 2010

En, Monzennakacho (えん)

Clearly I'm not spending enough time walking the streets of Monnaka at night; there were several new places since the last time I got around, and that's a rarity. This one looked really nice on Friday night when Mayu and I were binging on my old favorite places, so when we found ourselves with time to kill waiting for Go! to arrive on Saturday, we hit it.  

The atmosphere is a bit dark, a bit moody, and a bit quiet - since there were no other customers when we arrived or when we left, the chefs' faces were dark, they seemed moody, and there was no sound other than us talking while they watched us. Oh, and the 80's rock mix that they had on satellite radio. We kept saying "Hey, it's that song!" and the chefs kept saying "What? Never heard this before." They change the music every day.

The crocks of shochu on the counter, I bet those are the same every day. I got some of this Marogame (potato version) just so Mayu could see that it's better than Korean soju, ticking off another item on his list of Japanese advantages.

Just a few small items - they cover several bases on the otoshi, including both pasta and potatoes in the mayonnaisey salad. The olive oil and pepper on top does make it a touch better than your average place. The raw chicken tenderloin was mixed with so much onion, scallion, pepper, chili and sesame oil that it tasted great, but not at all like raw chicken (which is a good taste, believe me).

These kushi were a cut above some that I'm used to. The tsukune in particular were excellent; I like low-cartilege, high-herb content, not grilled so the exterior is comically hard and crusty. The grilled garlic and shishitou were also eeeeexcellent. They served each piece over the counter and onto our plates, sushi-style, a cool innovation for yakitori.

In the absence of other experiences, this would be my recommendation for yakitori if you need one in Monnaka. On the other hand, if they have zero customers after being open for one month, you'd better do your visiting soon.

To be fair, it was a Saturday night, which is always a weird time in MZNC. I wish them luck.

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