Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hantejiya, Yurakucho (韓豚屋 有楽町店)

Y'know, ages ago I stopped in to another branch of this Korean pork-BBQ specialist chain for lunch (where I had cold vegetarian noodles, but hey). I regretted not being able to bring you a picture of the sign, a big internally-lit cartoon pig head that shoots steam from its nostrils. I don't regret that any more, because Roofie announced his preference for Korean as we started out from the waystation (the 'pointy end' of Bic Camera in Yurakucho - a convenient place to meet), and we ran across this place pretty quickly.
The head wasn't steaming here, but it's still a pretty sweet signage apparatus, wouldn't you agree? The arch means it's one of the places occupying the vaults under the tracks in Yurakucho. I don't often go to them, but sometimes it's nice. They're all cheap, loud, cheerful, though at different levels and in different styles.

And a LOT of people agree that Hantejiya is a good place to go. We were probably not the greatest customers - not drinking much, not eating much, taking a 4-seat table with 2 people and keeping it while tables around us came and went. There was some doubt when we entered as to whether they had seats for us, and it stayed full the whole time. There's a lot of shouting in Korean, and Japanese, and sizzling pork, and whatnot.

I still think makkori tastes like thin yogurt. I don't care what anyone else thinks. And having tried their house specials, I'm here to tell you that the store-brand is fine, the hot version is better, and the pear-flavored version isn't worth drinking. The seaweed was delicious. I love Korean seaweed! The kimchee was oddly lacking, both the cucumber and cabbage varieties - just a bit boring despite all the redness. The mixed panchan were just normal.

Some of the other food was good, especially the chijimi (pancake) I ordered before Roofie reminded me he doesn't eat wheat. The top-left thing is wacky - it's a mochi patty embedded in a hamburger patty and fried on a skillet, with the obligatory raw egg. Clockwise, I have this idea that Korean-style roast chicken is a great thing; certainly it's funny that they bring you a whole cooked chicken (Y1.4k) and cut it up at your table with a big pair of scissors, but the flavor was nothing special. Likewise the big rice roll we got to round out the evening; we didn't even need to finish it.

Now, I sorta feel like we missed the point here, because every table has a stone grill on it when you come in. If you're not getting the grilled pork items, you're kinda missing out. On the other hand, a lot of those items appear to be delicacies like 'whole pork stomach!' and 'special intestine', so you may not be missing much.

You are missing the way that the grill stones have a raised rim with a little gap in it, and the tilt them so the fat runs off and into a pan, but you don't strictly need to see that, do you?

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