Monday, February 23, 2015

Kamozou, Kagurazaka (地酒喝采 かも蔵(カモゾウ 醸蔵))

Yooooooshta. It's official. I have now been to all of the good sake places in Tokyo. Think you know another? Nope. Not good. This is the last one. Boo-yah! Good, I'm glad we could all agree on that. Back to work.

I've been knowing this place for a long time. I happened by on my bike, or perhaps whilst strolling exploratorily, back in 2011 when such things were a regular occurence. It's been in the back of my mind since then, and as Big Bird and I wobbled out of our starter engagement at Good One (still the best, and you have no excuse for not going there if you like nihonshu), I concluded that I couldn't possibly go back to one of the many good places in Kanda/Ochanu, and placed a call to Kamozou. 30 minutes later, here we were. By their banner ye shall know them - it says "I want to drink Japanese saki!"

The front section is strangely barreled at the top, and there are lots of young staff running around. In fact, my main impression is now that they're a bit too young. I'm not sure who's running the store.
I mean, the guy running the store is probably the bearded gent who appears in the copious location shots from Japan's most famous sake breweries that plaster the walls (especially in the bathroom). And that's probably the issue - he's off chasing sake all the time, and not spending enough time on the food and staff.

[I'm kind of on a roll here, so just take it as given that I ordered Gasanryu to start, and it comes in 0.7 or 1.5 go pours, and they're good value.]

By which I don't really mean anything bad, just that the sake is a lot better than the food here. On the top, a little slimy portion of mekabu (wakame) and whitefishes, on the bottom, two halves of cold boiled potato. What?
Out of the 6 or 8 types of sashi on offer, I decided to sport the extra Y300 to specify which types I wanted (vs. letting them choose 3 for less). I didn't order well, but I suspect it wasn't my fault. Everything just had that not-so-fresh feeling.
The horse was good though. For the beginners in the audience, the off-white stuff is mane fat, tategami, and you're supposed to eat a piece of that with a piece of meat, and the condiment of your choice. The condiment of my choice would be raw garlic, but this only came with grated ginger.
Grated lotus root with wasabi sauce was sorta decent. It reminded me of takowasa, or raw octopus bits and bobs with a slimy, wasabi-heavy sauce - another thing I never thought I'd find myself ordering voluntarily but sometimes do.
Nanohana with mustard sauce and lots of fish shavings. I always like starting with cold vegetables, and as I found the next night, I get grumpy when the menu doesn't have them.
Before I riff on that too much, let's establish that there'sa bunch of cool stuff on the drinks menu. This is Kudoki Jozu 'Junior' 'Love at First Sight', so named because it's the first effort from the son of the brewer at that most excellent kura. I thought it was a bit too much on the sweetness scale, but the cute girl next to us who ordered it first was probably into that. And big points to her for knowing something about sake.
Who you callin' a ho, You Ho? I jest, of course, and this Yuho was also sweet to my tongue, but what the hey. The staff had a hard time recommending something to compare and contrast to the Love above.
I always order snacks with sake lees. have you noticed that? If they'r eon the menu, I get em. This is cheese and sake lees in a spring roll, fried. And really hot. I think Big Bird singed his feathers.
The soapy bubbling around the edges of this is because the pan was so hot. And they're not scallops, although I knew you were thinking that. They're mountain potato. Cooked mountain potatoes are really good. I now like mountain potatoes just about any way - except grated. That is some slimy, gross goings on right there.
You're thinking 'where's the rest of the sake?' and you're sorta right. We had started with a go and a half each at Good One (the extra half because Yamanaka san really wanted us to drink more, and we were trying to save liver capacity, and anyway it really feels like stealing to drink more at his prices), and it was smoky in there, and the food menu wasn't inspiring, and it kinda wasn't happening. So we saved it for another night. 

That's what this guy's doing to. No raging, just saving it for another night.


  1. Nice pictures! New camera or Iphone6? Enjoyed your posts as before.

  2. Iphone 5. More pictures on the way presently! I'm here for two weeks.
    Sorry I've never visited DC during our acquaintance.