Saturday, January 22, 2011

Momosaku, Asakusa (百作)

After dinner at the very tasty and historic Otafuku, it was time to stroll around Asakusa.

For those young readers just learning about the Rolling Stones and Beatles, this little shop seems to be inspired by the Midnight Rambler and Piggies. But it has nothing to do with Pink Floyd, which you're not old enough to learn about yet.

This is a public bath, Akebonoyu. How can you not want to take a bath when you see a place like this? The scaffolding and vines all above the door are likely wisteria; it would be great to see them blooming.

This guy has written a sweet piece on it, including his ruminations on the pace of business in the digital age, and how his shoulder hurts from mousing.

I love this neighborhood. It's packed with bars and restaurants that look alternately mysterious, welcoming, or frighteningly classy.

Let's guess that this place is called 'Hakusaku' because at least one of us is a bad blogger and didn't remember to ask how to say it. But there's no need to ask what they're into - the master is clearly a bit of a collector, starting with the authentic railroad signals that he 'acquired' through a friend. We settled on this because...well, because they had actually gone to the trouble of putting 'Juyondai' on their overhead sign, and they had the rail signals, and I thought "Okajouki plus Juyondai = Shiawase" or some similar calculus.

Inside, the master has also collected some furnishings. I didn't take a picture of the semi-private room, but now I understand why the mama was asking if I wanted to - seems it was brought as a piece from Nagano. That's neat stuff, and any time I see it I'm reminded of the fabulous Winterthur museum, where the du Pont family collected 175 rooms from buildings all over the world. Should really go back there, as I'm sure I'd appreciate the furnishing and interior design much more than whenever it was I last went. You can get a good idea of the decor here, which may also have come from Nagano now that I look at it.

and with this shot of the counter you've seen most of the shop. Those pickled onions were curiously tasty. Oh, and if you've ever seen those copper caps on the counter, you won't have forgotten them. They're built-in sake warmers!

Which means there's sake here. The master also likes to collect empty bottles of Juyondai, as do many people who've drunk them. He has a lot of the empty boxes that the luxury bottlings come in. These papers on the wall are, unfortunately, the whole sake list - I kept hinting that I might be willing to try something else, but nothing was forthcoming. The first one is the Juyondai, the 'Seahorse' bottling, and it is some excellent stuff. Should you be looking askance at the 1-go price there, let me point out that this is so scarce as to be generally unavailable. Online sources list it about 20% below this price, which is awfully decent of them. Haven't we all wished we could drink glass wine that wasn't 250% of the retail price?

Well, one of us has, and that same one of us is always happy to sit with a silver jug and a cut-glass chokko. That one is me, you know. Was that obvious? Am I being too subtle here?

Now that we've come this far, I'd like to tell you that I was wrong as usual, and the shop is called 'Momosaku'. You know who would've guessed that? No one.

Food is quite normal, little plates, pickles, grilled fish, but seemed good quality. It was after dinner anyway, and we were just hanging out, talking to mama, the like. Going around, mama gave us a little dish of matsumame zuke (thanks for the tip, Uncle N), then we ordered nanohana, pickled wasabi stalks, and slimy seaweed. Just the things for sake. Nanohana and wasabi and rakkyou were all quite good.

Just for a chuckle, we threw the last cup of sake on the warmer (this wasn't the 14dai, it was the 'Taiki' junmai, which is one of two on the list above that's privately made for this shop and hence named after the master). There's hot water in it, did you know that? It's a little slow to heat things up, but it's always nice to try things at different temperatures, and I like people who are good sports about trying things they might not like too. [In fact, my penchant for trying things I don't know and might not like has gotten me into trouble more than once. For example, at dinner I ordered an innocuous-sounding oden variety called 'koro'. The master said it was a special order and would require some time to heat up, then got a vicious-looking block of black-edged gelatin from the fridge. It's pure whale fat, my friends. It was disgusting.]

I still like taking pictures of New Tokyo Tower when it pops up in a field of view. Hakusaku is in the great neighborhood just north of Kototoi Dori (which Otafuku faces), more or less Senzoku, and if you keep walking you'll end up in Oshiage right under the tower. We did, and then we just kept walking, and by midnight we had walked all the way back to Monzennakacho.

And were hungry again, so we had sushi. It's cool to live in the city, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. you sure wouldnt be walking home if you lived here. it was 14F last night