Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sasashin, Ningyocho (笹新)

Right in the middle of Amazake Yokocho is Sasashin. While I've seen it before, I was never that clear what they do - it's not explained that well from the outside, nor that welcoming. Actually, it's not that welcoming inside either; very atmospheric, but a little dirty and desperate

By way of illustration, here's the fish selection. Not just this, of course, but the heart of the place is fish. Cooked and put in dishes on the counter or else cut up raw. What do you think of the counter selection? I know, I think that too.

The blue dish is a funny point too - your bill is kept in it, in the form of plastic chits signifying the prices of what you've eaten.

You see what I mean? It was full, but there didn't seem to be a lot of smiling going on. As far as those menus in the back of this shot, the slips of paper are the fish selection, while the whiteboard up top is the sake.

Now this is quirky - you can get Sawanotsuru, room temperature or hot (and the waitress looked at me like an alien when I asked for cold). If you want any other brand, and they have a fair and interesting selection, you have to buy a bottle of it.

Strangely, the guy next door gifted me the last go or so of his bottle of Mansaku no Hana, which was excellent. I suppose the bottle prices aren't bad (Y3500~) when you look at the quality of the sake, but it feels weird to buy whole bottles. Still, must simplify their inventory and maintenance substantially.

That guy was funny. At first I thought he was mentally off. Then I thought he was really drunk. I ended up thinking he might be both, but also interesting. He had some stories to tell about Mona\zen Nakacho 40 years ago, but he was practically incomprehensible to me.

The staff also thought I was weird to get two types of fish (in addition to the unohana, unpictured). The mackerel was quite good, but the other one...kinme? was terrific.

Must be a local institution. It'll be there if you ever feel the need.


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