Thursday, January 18, 2018

Motsu Niku Happy

Location: Motsu Niku Happy

Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner
Price: 3866 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes:  Various oden dishes and the recommended yakitori, a couple of drinks
English Menu: Only drinks
Smoking: Yes

Yakitori and other stuff menu

Another Wednesday evening and I went out in the pouring rain looking for something close to try.  I recalled there was a new restaurant going in on this tiny little back alley, so I went back to see if they were done, and sure enough, Motsu Niku Happy was open for business.

Oden menu

As an izakaya there is an expectation that drinks will be had, so I ordered a couple which takes off about 1000 yen from the price above.  Other than that, what makes this place more unique is the large selection of oden they have on the menu.  They appear to be primarily an oden and yakitori joint.  Oden is a bit old fashioned and harder to find these days, at least in an actual restaurant form.  You can buy oden in packets at grocery stores, and most convenience stores have oden for sale at the cash register, but to find an actual oden restaurant is unusual.  Naturally, I had to try everything...and ended up absolutely stuffed by the end.  I should have stopped half way.

Daikon radish oden

Anyway, my overall impression of the food wasn't that high, but it is nice to have this kind of option in town, and it was a welcoming place if you want to try oden inside while sitting down.

Ox tail oden

Pork liver, tongue and enoki mushroom yakitori

Chicken cartilage, thigh meat, and pork with negi

Intestines of some kind oden

Fried tofu, more beef and tofu oden

Ali Baba

Location: Ali Baba

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 3500 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Chicken korma, dal fry, samosa chaat salad, rice, naan
English Menu:  Yes
Smoking: Yes

The more traditional menu

It was a long weekend so we used our Monday holiday to do all of our car registration stuff in Yokohama, which is just down the road from Ikea.  After the car stuff was taken care of, we were driving to Ikea when I spotted a mediterranean/indian looking restaurant called Ali Baba.  I had seen it once before but it had been closed.  This time it was open, so we started hunting for a parking spot.  This is the biggest drawback to the place...there is no parking anywhere near it!  We eventually found a gravel lot behind a warehouse that looked sufficiently undisturbed such that we might get away with parking there for lunch.

Samosa Chaat Salad

When we sat down, we were handed the lunch special menu which was disappointingly generically Indian, along with an odd selection of Thai dishes.  I was worried we were in for the typical Nepali Indian interpretation, which is so bland.  I asked the server where they were from and he said Pakistan!  So I asked for the Pakistani menu and was given a different, much more interesting piece of laminated paper to look at.

Korma, dal fry, and tasty veg

We started ordering and were very pleasantly surprised, especially at the flavors in korma and dal fry.  My wife really liked the interesting samosa chaat salad too.  The naan was, sadly, still sweet, and there weren't any interesting breads on the menu other than something that turned out to be a sweet version of the naan.  It was a ton of food and we were both well stuffed by the end.  The only reason it doesn't get an Excellent is the lack of good bread.

A sweet bread that I didn't really care for

I told my wife she no longer has to trick me into going to Ikea, I'll go just to eat here again!


Location: Eiryu

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 2120 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes:  Fried rice, stir fried meat and veg, gyoza
English Menu:No
Smoking: Yes

Well this was a surprise!  My wife and I walked down to Kenritsudaigaku station to try out a new restaurant and we picked an unassuming local Chinese restaurant named Eriyu.  We expected nothing special, and we ordered some typical items off of the all Japanese menu.

We were really impressed!  All the items we ordered were unusually flavorful, and the stir fried meat and veg had a lovely charred flavor to it.

This is why I keep trying places even though they look like the same old, same never know what you'll find!

Rooms Cafe

Location: Rooms Cafe

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price: 3800 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: avocado tempura, beef miso wine dish, sausage and cheese on eggplant, couple of drinks
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Yes

Last week we I checked out a new spot called Rooms Cafe near me.  It's set up to be a comfy cafe style izakaya.  The proprietor speaks good English and we had a good chat.  They have worked really hard on their English menu, though it does need a few corrections (spell check isn't always your friend!).  Mainly:  Bucket = Baguette

Tempura avocado

As an izakaya-like place I ordered some drinks to go along, which would significantly reduce the overall price above.  The dishes I ordered were both surprisingly good, with  beef braised in miso and red wine being a real winner, while the baked eggplant rounds with sausage and cheese were just darn tasty.  The avocado tempura was just so so...I really need to stop ordering it.  Turns out I love just plain avocado.

Beef in red wine and miso sauce

A nice surprise and a spot I'll probably bring my wife back to, I hope they stay in business. 

Eggplant with sausage and cheese

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Location: Toromugi
Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 2500 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Miso katsu set, karaage and vegetable set
English Menu: No
Smoking: No

Up at More's City our favorite omu-rice spot Pommes has been replaced by a new restaurant named Toromugi.  It is a somewhat generic Japanese food place with some katsu, sashimi, nabe, and other random dishes.  Kind of like Ootoya.  Anyway, my wife had some time and accompanied me on my weekly quest to find a new restaurant and I knew a replacement for Pommes was in the offing, so we checked it out.

Miso katsu

The name of the place has "toro" in it, which is I believe a reference tororo, a sticky, goopy, slimy paste made by grating mountain yam.  It's not my favorite.  Mugitoro is made by pouring tororo over cooked wheat, so I'm guessing the name Toromugi is a play on that.  In any case, virtually every set meal comes with mugitoro as an optional side.  We did not participate.

Karaage and vegetable set

The sets also come with a choice of 3 types of rice, most of which have cooked wheat (mugi) added.  I went for the miso katsu, which was ok, if small.  The miso soup was underwhelming.  My wife's dish was a mix of a (very few) pieces of fried chicken (karaage) and some vegetables.  Neither of us was terribly impressed and would probably rather go to Wako if we were hankering for some fried deliciousness.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Port-side Kitchen

Location: Port-side Kitchen

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 3
Price: 6360 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Chicken curry, Katsu curry, steak
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

Another trip to Haneda to drop my son off results in another review.  This time we ate at Port-side Kitchen which advertises itself as serving "youshoku" i.e. Japanified versions of Western food.  My son picked it over the other remaining options.

Small salad

My son went for the straight up chicken curry with rice, my wife got the katsu curry, while I got the steak with no rice or bread (which normally come with it...I'm trying to avoid carbs these days).  All the food was pleasant enough, but not amazing.  My steak was pretty good, if tiny.  All of the meals came with a small salad and soup.  It was overall quite expensive, which puts this rating at a low Ok, verging on Not Great.

Small soup

Katsu curry

Chicken curry

Steak with pepper sauce

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bamboo Vietnam Kitchen

Location: Bamboo Vietnam Kitchen

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch
Price: 1080 yen
Payment: Cash only (I think)
Dishes: Beef Pho set
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

One of the better soba spots in town, Tamaki, closed a few months back, and recently was reopened as a Vietnamese Restaurant!  So while I'm sad the other spot closed, I was super excited today to go and try out Bamboo Vietnam Kitchen for lunch.

The menu isn't huge, but they've got several good things to try, along with an extensive Vietnamese sandwich section.  I plan on returning frequently and trying everything on the menu eventually.

But today I had to start with the Pho and I love beef pho the most.  They have beef or chicken pho to choose from, so the options are limited in that department (to compare, the place we ate at in the US recently had about 30 different pho options).  You can get either as a set or by itself.  The set comes with 3 different spring rolls (one fresh) and a dessert, so I went for that.

The pho bowl was quite large and the noodles were the larger flat type of rice noodle.  The broth was delicious, though not quite as amazing as what we had in the US the other week.  The rolls were also quite tasty.  Overall I was quite pleased and very much looking forward to coming back.

Now I've only eaten at a couple of other Vietnamese places in Japan, so this doesn't mean much, but this is the best Vietnamese I've eaten in Japan so far.  And it's located on my block, so yay!

Also, they have a takeout counter for their sandwiches...pretty cool.