Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Well good, I'm glad we could all agree on that. And how could you not agree that it's a good place? Look at that banner! It's screaming "Good sake here." Another tip - if you can figure out how to work the ancient elevator, take it to the top floor, get out, and walk up another level to the bizarre, time-out-of-mind store that takes up that partial floor and a detached shed on the roof. Kyobashi is a bit dead, being between Nihonbashi and Ginza, but it hides a bunch of quirky little restaurants and galleries.
Over the course of two nights this week (yes, I liked it that much), the owner recommended a number of oddities - the Ouroku from Shimane was outstanding, the Asahi Wakamatsu from Tokushima was bizarre (more like a distilled liqueur), and the Yorokobi Gaijin, Jikon, Tomonori, and everything else we tried were fresh and delicious.
At one point I teased the owner, a self-described 'sake nerd' despite his tough aspect and sorta surfer demeanor, about the inclusion of Dassai in his list - "You can get that anywhere!" He was all over that challenge, pointing out immediately that if you read the rest of the description you'll see it's not normal Dassai 50, it's actually raw and unfiltered. Mea culpa. He's a good guy for a conversation and a recommendation.
the catch is just thrown on tarps to dry in the sun.
Going L-R and down, there's that tofu again, then dried, grilled firefly squid (nice except the hardened pips of the eyeballs). The hot caprese is quirky - a grilled tomato topped with cheese and surrounded with pesto, while the pork-wrapped asparagus was so nice I got it twice. The beef tendon was delicious - meltingly soft, and mostly meat instead of actual tendon. The grilled (Seki) mackerel looks like hell but tastes great, and the fried chicken was generously portioned and a masterpiece of frying. Finishing with the grilled rice balls is a typical Woodsman move, and these were nicely moistened with soy sauce and grilled very appropriately. It's a fine balance.
This place is finely balanced too, and if you stay balanced when you go, you'll feel fine.