Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fukagawahama, Monzennakacho (深川浜)

Fukagawahama. It's not Fukahama, although that's not far away (and very worthwhile; in fact,if you just came back from Kyoto I think you'll agree the cost performance at Fukahama is amazing). Fukagawahama is just a normal izakaya in a normal back alley of Monzennakacho. It's always been there, at least within the approaching-7-years that I've been there. The sign is out and lit, the purple noren flutters. Why haven't I been? Good question.

It's a little smoky; that might be part of it. There's a definitely down-class feel to the place too, with a shabby clientele (especially me) and a mutton-dressed-as-lamb waitress. (I love that expression; it's so offensive and yet so appropriate, like 'going pear shaped'.). One funny feature not pictured here is the fire pit in the middle of the communal table. Obviously they never use it, because the sand is covered with clam shells. Similarly, the clear bottles around the place (and in fact in this picture, bottom left) have fish in them, frilly betas that probably don't get cooked. (As long as I'm tangenting, the other place that has betas is Wakamatsu, but there the atmosphere is refined, the food is amazing (I don't say that lightly), and the sake is OK too.

The food here is sometimes good, sometimes less, but it comes in quantity and it's pretty cheap. Bamboo was adequate (it's the season), as was nanohana with vinegar miso (it's the season).

As befits the shop name, there are plenty of dishes involving the little asari clams that used to be harvested from the canals that criss-cross the Fukagawa area. While you can get normal things like clams and green onions in rice ('Fukagawa rice'), I went the odd route with clams, onions, cabbage, and pork. It was OK but got cold. The negima chicken skewer was unnaturally long and pretty good for the price and quality level. They describe the raw horse as a specialty, should that be in your dining preferences.

Drinks are nothing to dwell on. You might be more excited if you were a shochu drinker, but I have a feeling that that part of the menu is like the (much smaller) sake list - mid-quality, with some things that are interesting and some things that are not.

On the whole, I'm not sure if this deserves 'interesting' or 'not' as a capsule descriptor, but it was just fine tonight.

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