Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kishidaya, Tsukishima (岸田屋)

Kishidaya. I live near here. It's famous. Why did it take me 7 years to get there?

Easy. They open at 5. It's popular. I mean, get-there-before-they-open popular. Who has time to do that? Who doesn't work on weekdays?

These guys, hahahahahaha. In fact, we tried to go to another place nearby that's almost as well-reviewed except more for regular folks, not a tourist destination like Kishidaya. It opens at 4 and fills up just as fast. And was closed randomly on a Wednesday in the summer. So there we were nearby, at 4:05. We could've been first in line at K-ya, but we walked around the block once, and anyway there were two of us, so we had to be second and third by the time we got there. Or tied for second, maybe. I'd advise getting there by 4:40, latest.

By the way, dude, it looks really natural.

At 5 sharp the waitress comes outside, rustles around with the curtain - no pretension there, they've got liquor - and apologizes to everyone that they had to wait. You file in and sit down and get served in the order you were waiting.

This is an atmosphere place, no question about it. There are eating places, and there are drinking places, and there are atmosphering places. This is one of those places. If you're one of the lucky entrants - and you'd better be in the top 15, because the next 5 sit facing the wall, and after that no one gets in - you get to sit around the big u-shaped counter feeling like you belong there, chatting with the other regulars who pretend that it's no big thing to wait in line for beer at 5 PM.

I'll tell you this though - for a cheap and atmospheric place, they have half a dozen OK sakes. This Kawakame was really soft, well-rounded and inviting.

Yes, insert that joke here.

And I'll tell you this for free too, the food's pretty good for a cheap place (2 beers, bottle of sake there, all this food, Y5k. Christ, I paid that to open a bottle of wine one time.)  The nuta is supposedly famous, so I'm glad I ordered it - onion and trash seafood with vinegar miso sauce, delicious. Spinach with black sesame, delicious. Hobo sashimi, a good version; hobo is a soft-but-chewy fish that you might not like, sort of like ankou. Katsuo, good. Those little fish, I can't remember what they were called...urume, I think. They were like twigs, hard as hell to bite through the spines, but the heads were nice. I smoked mine. Skate fin. Grilled golden-eye. Yum.

Hell, I'm glad we went here! I'd almost go back, on a day when I wasn't working. Unfortunately there are other atmospheric early-openers beckoning, so the triumphal return to Kishidaya, with trumpets, will have to wait.

Not forever, I hope. 



  1. Prince of TsukishimaJuly 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Take me !

  2. Can you finish work by 5? I can wait in line from 4. No problem! Let's go next week!

  3. Prince of TsukishimaJuly 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    I can't finish work by 5.
    Why can you wait from 4?

  4. Wonderful place in all respects and it leaves Yamariki for dead. I was first in line at 4:20pm, 20 others by 4:40pm = a full house.
    Great time of year to be enjoying gyu-nikomi. I preferred the Sawanoi junmai vs the Kawakame(still good). Spent most the evening discussing favourite guitar players with a fellow diner.