Saturday, May 14, 2011

Besshan, Mitaka (居酒家べっしゃん,西東京市東伏見)

More than once, my friends, I have been accused of completism, photo-phetishism, and other sins. Well, I thought this narrow tunnel, small enough for only one car at a time, was pretty neat. And now I've tricked you into reading about it. haaa haaaaa.

After a brisk day's hiking and soaking, we roared back along the central train line to Mitaka. First time for me to visit, and quite possibly the last - it's a long way from home, and there are so many great things in between. We were headed to a place not at all in between, and in fact close to a 10-minute taxi ride from the station.

Did you notice the address in the header? It's not really in Mitaka, it's in 'Fushimi', which is the same name as Kyoto's sake brewing area. Coincidence? I think so.

But geez, if you came upon this, way the heck away from any station, you'd need to change your shorts, wouncha?  I know I would. Look at all those bottles - they're all sake. They're all good sake. There was stuff there that I really like but never see on restaurant menus, only in stores.

So we walk in, me and Woody in front, and the master says, just like this "Hey, where are you guys from?" I don't mean 'says that in Japanese', I mean we were an hour from Tokyo and 10 minutes from the station and the guy greeted us in good English. He was a sushi chef in Charlotte in the past. 'Besshan' is his nickname - Beppu san, but after that even he couldn't explain its derivation.

For those that are always asking to see more pictures of me on the blog, there's a blurry thing top right that's me. Actually no one ever asks that. Actually no one ever asks me anything, not even "Hey, where should I go to find an broad and diverse list of sakes organized according to the type of woman they resemble (seriously, that's what the categories are) - young and fresh, mature and elegant, old and yellowing...

The Tomonori at top right was my highlight of the day, and the master's first recommendation. The aged Nami no Oto below that was too aged for me. On the left, Kawanakashima is one of Japan's oldest brewers but still turning them out, and far left Abekan was also excellent. But hey, everything here was excellent, and cheap, and available in sets. Ca-CAO!

I have to admit, The wood was not tremendously impressive - but when the sake is that good, even competent food is a bonus. That's a nice fish assortment, sure, very pretty. You can't really see the edamame and cold tofu at top right; I thought you'd rather see more of the cherry blossom shrimp pizza there (ok, chijimi, and I hope I haven't offended any Koreans). The bottom row, L-R, is grated mountain potato goo baked with cheese and sauce toppings (good idea), fried river shrimp (always welcome), shrimp fried rice (points to the master for realizing that our young Charles wanted to eat asap and making that first). Good food.

Good place. I am soooo glad I don't live near here, because it would be super-easy to go any ol' time.

About as easy as it is to find wacky-looking people to take pictures of when your train is going from the suburbs toward Shinjuku on a Saturday night.

Finding places this good is substantially harder. Getting there even worse.
The blog's easy to find though.

1 comment:

  1. oh my the sake looks good! ah, the chijimi :D i don't call it that, but i do make it a lot at home for dinner =) it's delicious!