Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kei, Gakugei Daigaku (日本酒専門店 圭)

The Bird and I had a very quiet time at Ametsuchi. I was thinking even before we started there of going for a second place on this evening, and the atmosphere and first couple dishes confirmed it. By the end I was positively itchy to finish our hike from Meguro to Gakuegeidai and see about the two likely candidates I had identified. The first one was closed, and the second one calls itself a 'saki specialist' anyway, so what the hey.

What the hey is that it's a standing bar! What the hey?! We don't stand! But this was good. It was already a little close to quitting time when we got here, and not being able to sit keeps you honest, sober, and ready to run for the train. 
What's weird is how we ended up loving this place. We had a little bit of a hard time at first - one of the three waiters came over and opined that he could recommend something light and flavorless, or maybe fruity, since foreigners like that kinda thing.

Foreigners like Black Bull nama genshu too, my friend. And that 'Go' thing on the left was good as well. 
So the lack of atmosphere and the three waiters for 5 customers and the oddity of that greeting had us feeling a little off. We drank our drinks and talked about the weighty things men touch on when they're standing up and drinking. 
We got food too. This is 'chikuwa isobe age', which is in that 'you have to order it, it's a funny concept' category - processed fish tubes sprinkled with seaweed, battered and fried. De-fricking-licious, I'm here to tell you. The other thing I ordered in this round was Kentufy Fried Mushroom - bits of eringi tatsuta-style. Boom.

The saki menu was a little weird - lots of good brewers, but often not saying what was available from them. Then I saw a bottle of Nabeshima pouring at the next table, and Izumibashi beyond that, and Kagiya over there, and said "Hey! None of that's on the menu!"
Then I finally looked at the fridge and realized that all the good stuff wasn't on the menu. You sick summbicches!

Once we figured out that game, it got a lot more interesting to be there. Inspecting the fridge is always a nice conversation starter, and it plunged us into heated and sarcastic debate with the local fauna. Or I imagine that's what it was. They probably just thought we were jerks, seeing as we were going off on this line about how much we hate saki. I cant help it, when someone asks if I like saki while I'm inspecting the fridge in a standing saki bar, I just have to say 'No, I came in here accidentally. I'm looking for the bathroom. Is it behind these bottles?"
This is an absolute try-at-home - cherry blossom shrimp and fresh seaweed omelet. I mean, if you can get these shrimp fresh you should just eat them raw, but the dried ones are readily available out of season, hydrate nicely, and are evidently ace when scrambled with eggs.

I genuinely regret not having more time here. The food was tasty, the sake delicious, the value just fine, and the environment convivial. I would pay extra for a stool, but it's not to be. 
You know the other problem we had at the beginning here? It was only 9:30 when we arrived. By the time it was pushing 11, it was also pushing crowded. I guess this is what the college kids do on Tuesday nights. They're art-college kids after all.

It was nice to drink with a young, arty crowd for a change. 

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