Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sanuki Chaya Udon, Tokyo (讃岐茶屋 八重洲店)

Sometimes I go on about how much you can get done in an hour when you work somewhere as convenient as Otemachi, but this is really it - for today's lunch, in 45 minutes I walked through Tokyo station, bought train vouchers (from a ticket shop, major routes are 7-8% cheaper as long as it's non-holiday times, e.g. after January 6th is OK), went back to the station to get the actual tickets, and ate a bowl of noodles at this place. Probably the most interesting thing I can say is that it is (again) interesting how Japanese companies segment their brand. The Shoya Group has hundreds of stores, but this little sub-brand only has 4. Within the group there are 11 different variations on Shoya (like 'Seto Naikai Shoya'), and several more on 'Yaruki Chaya', so maybe they're separate regional companies or franchisees.

Inside is quite average; I wouldn't tell you to go here for any reason. I could conjure a little interest in this wall display and the guy eating down the counter from me, but that's it. They specialize in shochu, and also had a handwritten page of special jizake - half a dozen from Kagawa prefecture like Kinryo and Ayakiku. What a weird little thing to throw in; Kagawa sake is pretty rare in Tokyo, and in a non-specialist store? Maybe the manager is from there.

Here's the daily special lunch - volume before quality, that's for sure. The fried vegetables were good, while the shrimp was huge but fried at too low a temperature for two short a time - long, but pale and limp. The udon were fine. I'm not sure I've had udon that were much distinguished either way, except at that place in Roppongi where they used to do handmade udon plus a donburi like this, except the donburi were also exceptional. Boy did I used to eat a lot.

Here it is, for what it's worth.
03-3276-0281

And by the way, did anyone know there are kanji for udon? It's a first for me, but I almost never eat udon. Sorry Peacock.

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