Monday, November 15, 2010

Kitchen Yutaka, Kanda (キッチン ユタカ)

Admit it. Sometimes we go to places for the wrong reasons. Today involved a bit of disgruntle - there was an Italian place that's been on the list for months, but my boss delayed and delayed a meeting before finally canceling it. I got to the place at 1:45 and thought, phew, they're open until 2! Most places specify their 'last order' time. The hostess said "Oh yes, we're still open," then as I started to sit down said "But you'll have to eat and be out by 2, because we close then." I disgrunted and left toot sweet. Thus did today's 'dinning aventure' become this completely down-at-heel yoshoku place down the street. I admit, I went in here partially because of the irony of it.

What's not to iron about this place? Foreign-style chairs and lace curtains, Japanese counter and fried food. Thick, sweet worcestershire sauce on everything. Yoshoku has its place. Although I was trying to think after I ate here about where I would recommend you go for yoshoku, and I can't think of anything. It's comforting, but not recommending.

The daily special was a split plate - fried flounder and omelet. This makes total sense in the yoshoku context; fried fish and omelets in various forms are staple foods (so is the funny bed of spaghetti under the omelet), and so are combination plates (the first thing on the menu was 'mixed grill', and there was a 'mixed fry' too). The fish was pretty good, actually; I like a crusty crust and a flaky, moist fish. The omelet was filled with a little ground beef and onions; definitely not as good as you might get at an omelet specialist, but in those cases you also run a high risk of getting it cooked only on one side. People do like their raw eggs here, and that extends to having a raw layer on top of the omelet. Not for me. Rice. Soup. Pickles. The wholly trinity that completes a yoshoku meal - "It's foreign, but still recognizable as food." The Blackberry is not included in the course.

I guess this is Yutaka. He was in there alone, not that surprising at 2 PM or maybe any other time in a place like this, and he went about the cooking quietly and with dignity in his chef's whites and toque. You have to wonder - did he dream of being a chef? And is this the dream he dreamed?

In other news, this is right around the corner from Hanakago, where I wish the chef would open for lunch. You've never had home cooking like her home cooking.

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