Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tokudawara, Kita Senju (徳多和良)

Really, Tabelog readers? Tokyo's 6th best izakaya is a standing place in Kita Senju? Might as well find out (especially since we went to #2, 3, 4 and 5 in the last few weeks. Some were repeats. I disagree about #1, but it's mostly an illustration of the broadness of the category.).

We rolled up early, because that's how we roll, and then the lazy family that operates Tokudawara didn't open until about 4:10. We had time to stroll.
And make some friends. Actually, while I was taking pictures at this intersection, a youngish, biggish guy came out of the stone-cutting shop and went into the 100-year old house across the street. When he came back out, I thought he was going to warn us off, but instead he wanted to try speaking some English. Friendly neighborhood, KSJ.

But smorking is never OK, alright?

Before too long we were back and managed, like the other places, to be the first people inside. It's easy when lunch rolls into afternoon drinking and then dinner. 'Easy' also describes the atmosphere here well. Stand, mingle, no unsightly overcrowding, only a few people waiting,

Friendly staff who are keen to talk about stuff before it gets too busy. Friendly customers who want to know why you:re there and how the heck you picked the place. They'll ask you this too - in a town that has 5 or 6 substantial shopping streets, the kind most suburbs would be proud of, this is on a minor alley with no other stores.

But plenty of water eggplant! Can't get enough this summer, we can't.

Lemme just race through the other plates quickly before getting to the kicker.

Isaki (Grunt)

Heck, I've forgotten. I think it was tai, and I know it was cured in seaweed to suck out some water.

Komai, the fabled 'under ice fish' that I was fortunate enough to receive from the Reso Samurai at Christmas.

Komatsuna greens, fried tofu, Bird fingers, new shirt.

The fry chef was a woman. I thought this was really cool, an old master cutting the fish and letting a woman into his kitchen to do a lot of the other work. Then I realized she looked a lot like the older waitress, and it all started to look more familial.

Pickled mackerel.

Fried asparagus with green-tea salt. Her frying batter and technique were exemplary

especially in the shrimp and onion kaki-age.

whose green tea salt went delightfully well with green tea mixed with cheap liquor!

so nice they ordered it twice.

and finally a fairly boring and gummy plate of squid, marinated in soy and squid livers before grilling.

As if sensing our boredom with this dish (though not with the food or atmosphere), the waitress approached us at this point with a big X made out of her arms. Strict 2-hour time limit. Who woulda thought? And more to the point, who woulda thought two hours standing could go by so fast?

There's a simple reason why this is ranked so high: all the plates above cost Y300 plus tax. Drinks too. But it all tastes good too. .

1 comment:

  1. I went there yesterday.
    It was nice Izakaya!