Thursday, August 16, 2018

Amimoto Oba

Location: Amimoto Oba

Rating: OK
Meal:  Lunch for 3
Price:  4000 yen
Payment:  Cash only
Dishes:  Cold soba and tempura teishoku, gyudon, katsudon, sausages
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

We took my mother out to Hakone yesterday and found a spot to eat lunch.  Amimoto Oba is a soba/udon restaurant right on Lake Ashinoko.   Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, swan boats, and the occasional pirate ship ferry that goes from one end of the lake to the other were on display. 


My mother had expressed an interest in cold noodles, so she got a cold soba with tempura teishoku.  It came with small fish, presumably fished out from the lake, and some vegetable tempura.  The fish was meant to be eaten whole and was fine I guess.  The rest of the dish was pretty much what you'd expect.  I got a gyudon (beef bowl) and my wife got a katsudon (deep fried pork cutlet bowl).  Both came with the usual slightly sweet egg and onion mixture that you'd expect, and both were quite tasty.  I wanted a little more protein as I did not eat most of my rice, so I ordered a sausage plate which was quite tasty with a mixture of various types of German style sausages.

Soba tempura set

We decided on a high Ok rating for this place as it wasn't really a standout place, but it was overall quite delicious.



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Market Basket

Location: Market Basket

Rating: OK
Meal:  Lunch
Price:  $10
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes:  Miscellaneous food
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

We ate on base today and I tried out the new Market Basket which finally replaces Sbarro (closed for a very long time now).  It's an odd affair, with a large salad bar and another section with hot food.  You get a large or small container and fill up on whatever you want, and then get it weighed at the register and pay $10 a pound.  I managed to come right in at a pound, surprisingly.  There are also sandwiches, burgers, and burritos at the counter, but it can take some time to prepare.  They are still newly opened, so there are some growing pains.

As for the food, it was surprisingly tasty, in a kind of cafeteria way.  I expected to rate this place Not Great, but am pleased to give it an Ok.

Monday, August 13, 2018


Location: Yumeya

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for3
Price: 2830 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Butter chicken with naan, chicken biryani, 4 pieces tandoori chicken
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

What a fun surprise!  We were dropping my son off at Asakusa station to go home after church on Sunday and needed a quick bite to eat.  We spotted Indian nearby and made our way to Yumeya.  It appeared to be one of these "Japanese" run Indian restaurants which typically aren't very good at all.  But we figured we'd give it a shot.

Butter chicken with naan

Definitely a mom and pop joint, we were surprised by the number of options on the menu.  My son got his usual:  butter chicken, my wife tried the biryani and I got meat.

Chicken biryani

We were quite surprised by the quality of the food!  The naan in particular was delicious and had some actual chew to it as opposed to the usual milky white, slightly sweet variety we encounter here.  The butter chicken tasted similar to our own homemade attempts, and the tandoori chicken was delicious.  The biryani was a bit disappointing, but still, our overall response was pleasant surprise.

Tandoori chicken

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Location: Chotaro

Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 5250 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Garlic fried rice, tamagoyaki, wagyu steak with teishoku set, whiskey highball, coke
English Menu:  No
Smoking: Not ashtrays but the place had a stale smoke smell

I was excited the other day to see a new basement restaurant had opened up in the Mikasa Mall, a covered walk way with many of our local shops.  It was a "meat bar" izakaya so that was a plus.  My son and I tried it out the other night and I was pretty disappointed by it.

Mandatory appetizer

It's down underground, and was probably a different kind of place before, I'm guessing a karaoke joint or something like that.  It's quite spacious, but unfortunately it's also kind of fusty and dank (not the good kind of dank) with a stale smoke smell to it.  We didn't see any ashtrays, so maybe that's lingering from the previous owners.  The decor is stunningly tasteless...truly something to behold.  There is no English menu yet, but that'll probably come in time.  Of course, the drink menu was in English, and I tried a bourbon whiskey highball, while my son had a coke.


My son wanted fried rice of course, but didn't care for the kimchi version, so he settled for garlic (level up!) and some tamagoyaki.  I ordered the wagyu steak, as the advertise as a "meat bar".  My son liked his stuff well enough, but I was quite disappointed by the steak as it was one of the toughest I've had in some time.

Garlic fried rice

Overall I was unimpressed and am unlikely to return.

Rice, miso soup and pickles

Wagyu steak

Monday, August 6, 2018

Asakusa Gyuukatsu

Location: Asakusa Gyuukatsu
Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 3000 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Two gyuukatsu teishoku
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

My wife and I were near Asakusa station on Sunday evening, an unusual thing for us.  We were looking for something interesting for dinner, but everything was closing, so it was more difficult than we had thought.  Luckily we remembered walking past a gyuukatsu (beef katsu) restaurant on the way there, so we made our way back and tried it out.

We got a seat and looked at the menu, which turned out to be very simple.  You could get a beef katsu teishoku with either one or two katsu.  The rest of it consisted of mentaiko (spicy cod roe), ground mountain yam (slimiest stuff in the universe), some rice, pickles, sauces, and a red miso soup.  We got two of the regular and proceed to read about how to eat this meal.

They deep fry the breaded beef, but only to rare doneness.  It is up to you to finish it.  In front of each person is a small squatty container with a small paraffin candle inside.  A flat stone is placed on top, which heats up nicely.  You take a slice of meat and put it on until it's done to your preference, then you eat it.  Kind of fun!

Oh, the best bit was the wasabi.  Usually wasabi is actually a green-dyed horseradish, but occasionally you get the real thing.  It's quite rare, because it's so expensive, and it goes bad so quickly.  But the chunky looking blob of green on our plates looked like the real thing, and this was confirmed as soon as we tasted it.  Such a fresh, green taste that explodes with fire and quickly retreats.  It's like nothing else, and it tasted so good with the beef.

A real fun treat to try something new after all this time here...

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dumbo Pizza Factory

Location: Dumbo Pizza Factory

Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 3000 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: A pizza, some meat
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Non smoking section available

My wife and I were, wonder of wonders, in Yokohama on Friday night.  We've talked forever about how we ought to have a regular date night there, but somehow on a Friday after the week is done, neither of us ever wants to go out again.  This time, however, she had been in Tokyo helping a friend with moving and we met in Yokohama as she was on her way home.  First we had a couple of beers at our favorite spot Thrash Zone, near Yokohama Station.  Then we set out to find some food.

My wife got to pick and she had heard about this Dumbo Pizza Factory joint from a magazine source at some point in the past so we gave it a shot.  It's a pretty popular spot on a Friday evening, with many large groups of people, probably having a work drinking party, the sort of "mandatory fun" I get out of due to my job on base.

The menu looked really good, and my wife ordered a pizza, while I ordered some meat (still trying to stay lowish carb).  My wife's pizza was just ok in my opinion.  It was Napoli style, wood fired.  I didn't think it had much flavor, but I don't care for that style.  My meat turned to be a very thin slice of pork with a little bit of balsamic reduction on top.  The reduction wasn't very flavorful and the meat wasn't all that great.  And it was tiny.

So, probably not a place I'd come back to again.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Shin Yakiniku

Location: Shin Yakiniku

Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner for 2
Price:  5842 yen
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes:  3 chicken thigh plates, 1 higher quality beef plate, coke, small bottle of sake, 2 rice and soup sets
English Menu: No
Smoking: Not sure...but there will be smoke from the fire

Last night my son and I tackled a legendary spot that has refused me entrance at least twice in the past.  It's down a small alley way with a big red sign.  Shin Yakiniku is a it intimidating inside, but this time they let us come in after asking if we were ok with the all Japanese menu.

We figured things out and ordered some chicken and beef. The firepit contained real coals, which is a plus.  The food was ok, but I'm still not a huge fan of yakiniku.