Friday, April 25, 2014

Okatte Fumoto, Tama Plaza (麓)

Out and about in Tokyo, seeing stuff, taking advantage of changing elevators on the 33rd floor on the way to a meeting...Sometimes it makes me feel immature, but I've never lost my wonder at heights. High floors, airplane windows, you name it. I'm the only businessman who chooses the window seat on purpose. This is from Midtown Tower, which is why you can see Roppongi and Tokyo Towers, and some other stuff the names of which I've forgotten.

Soon enough it was time to get back on the train and roll out to Tama Plaza to meet You. Not you, you understand, but my former colleague You, famous from such posts as Kanako Hannosuke and Ginkakuji Masutani Ramen. It wasn't really 40 years ago on the train, and it wasn't really as rough as this picture makes it look.
We started with my third annual visit to Sato, which is pretty much what I'd recommend if you're in Tama Plaza for dinner (although this place is close). We had to leave at 8 sharp for someone else's reservation. I misunderstood and thought we were going home at that point, and I was pleased when You suggested another place, and he was pleased when I said "washoku". I mean, he was maybe a little bummed that I didn't want to go back to his other favorite place, Waraku, but it's just too yoshoku for me. Fumoto is the kind of place you wouldn't notice from the street.
Unless you were looking hard, and you know I am. Fortunately they were open and had seats - but only enough for us, so it's a popular place.

It bears mentioning that the atmosphere is the worst thing here. It's cramped, clean-but-boring, and the lighting is awful. Have I ever said that in a review before? It's that bad. Everything else is pretty great though, as far as I can tell. Every station has at least one good thing, and this is one of the good things at Tama Plaza.
This is just fish, maybe swordfish, and village potatoes and konyaku. A little better than it looks.
Sake service is in nice glass tokkuri, with varying sizes and shapes of sets of glassware. Every round, a different style of glass. They had about 10 varieties of the ol' nippon-shoe, including Yorokobi Gaijin, Hououbiden, and...hmmm, some other things I like but have forgotten. You could definitely stay amused if you wanted to drink seriously here.
And you will definitely stay amused if you like the ol' water eggplant, as I most certainly do. I wish this was a year-round event. These things are the best. Any more praise needed to convince you that you're missing out by being in America and not being able to get them?
You may well not regret the lack of availability of these items in America. It's an unholy mix of raw squid cubes, chunks of a spring vegetable called udo, and a paste made from white miso and prickly ash tree leaves. I love the paste; anything you put it on turns to tasty in my book. The classic thing to do is Kyoto style boiled bamboo with this, either cold or grilled.
They use nice dishes.
Except that this one kept confusing me. This is a bunch of different mountain vegetables (it's Spring, after all) with a vinegar miso sauce. I kept wondering why there were blue spots in it even as I was enjoying it. That puts me in mind of dish #6 at La Bombance. I could be a much smarter person if I didn't remember all these useless things.

Still, I suppose it's part of my discrete charm.
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