Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tamamura, Monzennakacho (多万村)

Like the nearby Uotei (and I mean "15 feet away"), the tiny back-alley kappo Tamamura shows both the blessing and the curse of this style of restaurant.

It's casually elegant, it's quiet, it's friendly in a restrained way, they always seem to have a table, the food is always excellent, and it's never cheap.

At least they're nice enough to have a menu outside so you know what you're in for.

Check it out - you just don't get starters like this at many places, right? It's a single radish, peeled, with excellent moromi miso and a further side of lightly-boiled scallion tops in vinegar miso sauce. You have to be in the frame of mind to appreciate this, otherwise it would go by without comment and you'd be wondering where the meaty bits were. If you're not impressed by this, Tamamura may not be the place for you.

They have a decent little selection of sake here, which I didn't know (so last time I came was clearly before the sake 'my boom'). Mama tried to give us normal cups, but I asked if I could use something from the selection on the wall - you know how I covet big collections of Japanese dishes and have come to enjoy using them...

I asked to use the one on the right. I think this style is Kutani pottery, but maybe only because I first remember seeing it in Kanazawa years ago. Mama gave someone the one on the left and made a little comment about how it was quite valuable but the one I picked was nothing. I like her.

Again - the blessing of a good kappo is that you get something like vegetables boiled in soup, and it tastes as good as anything you've eaten in your life.

Speaking of which, my new friend Check somehow got the impression that I don't eat meat. While I may rhapsodize about fish and vegetables a lot, I'm horrified to have given anyone that impression. And will eat a steak this weekend to atone for any misrepresentations.

And again, the blessing of a good kappo is that they get fish that somehow tastes magically better than anything you can do for yourself. I've started getting fish from Tsukiji directly a bit, and it still tastes nothing like as good as what you get in a decent shop. How do they do it?! Is it really just the better fish from the market? Some of the really appealing menu items were the fish hot pots - slices of yellowtail to be cooked in soup at your table, or else chunks of tuna and scallion.

The pictured fish is snapper on the left (you can tell from the white, tiled skin), then buri, then hobo, then striped jack. Sorry about the mix of lanaguages there.

"Tempura? Sure. Mixed vegetables like last time?" says mama. Last time was at least a year ago, closer to two. Tempura is a little odd here; they make it in a style that's light and not too crisp, but I know they mean it to be that way. It's always the same, and the other food is too precise and excellent.

Hmmm, they said they closed at 11, but their web site says they close at 12. Then again, I'm surprised they have a web site.

1 comment:

  1. "My new friend Check" - that is pretty funny. I guess he has missed the posts where you wax rhapsodically about Yamaichi and the porky merits of different chashu in ramen.

    glenn (aka common)