Monday, July 16, 2018

Kijimuna

Location: Kijimuna

Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner for 2
Price:  3200 yen
Payment:  Cash only
Dishes:  Rafute, fu champuru, 3 drinks (awamori)
English Menu: No
Smoking: Yes


Please keep in mind, I only review food, so while this little underground bar has some of the best awamori I've ever tasted, this review is of the food.  Anyway, beneath Nawlins there are a couple of bars.  This one is marked on the sidewalk by a yellow sign with a green tree and "Okinawan Dining Bar" on it.  If you walk down the slightly scary staircase underground, you will open the door to find a really cute, nicely decorated Okinawan bar.  What immediately strikes the viewer are the 5 or 6 large clay pots on the counter.  These house various awamori (a distilled thai rice liquor from Okinawa), all of which are at least 4 years old, some as old as 8 years.  I've come to appreciate awamori and though I knew about this place I hadn't been back in a long time and realized I'd never reviewed it for its food.  The other night my wife and I were looking for nearby places to eat so we wouldn't have to walk far in this heat and humidity, so we stopped in for some awamori and okinawan food.

Rafute

The menu is not in English, but the proprietor (Mr. Cho) speaks decent English and can point stuff out if you need help.  I ordered some rafute, which is marinated pork belly sliced up.  My wife had some fu champuru, which is egg and meat stir fried with gluten (yup, pure gluten...eat your heart out!).  My rafute was a bit tarter than usual, and I wasn't terribly impressed by it.  My wife's champuru was definitely better though.  Obviously, food is not the main point at this place, but it was decent enough.

Fu Champuru

BTW, if you are interested in awamori recommendations there, so far the 4 year old Yanbaru Kuina is my favorite, with the 8 year old Zuisen a close second.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Wagokoro

Location: Wagokoro



Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 1950 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes:Wappa with cold soba, tempura with cold soba
English Menu: No
Smoking: No (I think)


Wappa and soba

I've been meaning to try Wagokoro for a long, long time now.  Once my wife and I tried to eat there but passed it up for something else.  Ever since then I've been trying to get back, but have failed for some reason.  Today a co-worker suggested driving out there for lunch as he lives nearby and can park easily.  Nice!

Tempura and soba

The owner speaks really good English, so it's a puzzle as to why they don't have an English menu.  But he can explain everything quite well.  The owner let me know that this restaurant is over 100 years old and he is the 4th generation to run it!  In addition to their specialty of tempura, they also have soba and an interesting savory rice dish called wappa which is rice cooked in broth with bits of vegetable in it and topped by some kind of meat, and often a type of shredded egg.

I ordered a tempura and cold soba combo, while my friend had some wappa topped with crab and some cold soba as well.  The tempura was cooked right in front of us as we sat at the bar area, so we smelled pretty strongly of fry oil afterwards.  There are also tables available.  My tempura pieces were bookended by shrimp, which were ok, but not that amazing.  The vegetables in between, however, were really good, lightly crunchy on the outside and virtually melted in your mouth.  I didn't taste my friend's dish, but it looked pretty good too.

Nice, friendly spot, I look forward to bringing my wife back here some day.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Kaneyo Art Studio

Location: Kaneyo Art Studio

Not my photo...forgot to take one

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 3560 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Chipotle chicken with tomatoes and salad, grilled tuna dish
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


A good friend from when I first got here mentioned this place to me the other day.  It's a beach style restaurant, right on the beach down the road from us.  We drove, but realized after that we could just as easily have taken the bus from right outside our place.  It would have the advantage being able to have a drink as well.  There is a public pay parking area from which you can walk down the road to the restaurant, but there are a few spots for parking at the restaurant itself as well.

Chipotle chicken

We arrived around 12:30pm and the place was packed.  The food is sort of all over the board, so we picked a couple of dishes that looked good.  I had a chicken dish that was really tasty and flavored nicely.  My wife had a cooked tuna dish that was pretty good, but she thought my dish was better.  Both came with some cold soup that was super tasty.  My wife had a hunk of bread, while I had some rice.

Grilled tuna

It's been a while since I had a Very Good rating up, so I am glad to be able to post this!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Hamakko Ramen

Location: Hamakko Ramen



Rating: Not great
Meal: Lunch for 3
Price: 3080 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Ramen/Fried rice set, Beef liver and vegetables, Deep fried noodles with goopy sauce
English Menu: No
Smoking: Yes


We needed to make a trip to Ikea on Thursday.  I had hoped to go to Cactus Burrito for lunch, a legendary spot out in that direction,  but found out as we were about to leave that it was closed for lunch most days.  Second best was the nearby Pakistani restaurant, but the parking is such a pain for it, and it was raining.  So we pulled into the first place with a parking lot which turned out to be Hamakko Ramen.  I've classified it as a Chinese restaurant though as that was the predominant type of food available, and the ramen is Chinese style.  The smell inside was pretty rank, and they allow smoking, which might be preferable to the raw smell of the place.  But we're tough, so we forged on.

Ramen and fried rice

I ordered a liver and vegetable stir fry, minus the rice, which I have enjoyed sometimes.  It was pretty gross tasting, with the liver tasting quite bitter and gritty, and the veg being overly saturated with oil.  My son enjoyed his small ramen and fried rice, but he's generally doesn't care about the quality of the food.  My wife ordered a deep fried noodle dish with a goopy sauce poured over the top, something she quite likes.  Her dish was probably the least offensive, but it was massive and she could only eat about half of it.

Liver and veg

Definitely not  place I'll go out of my way to eat at again.

Goopy sauce on fried noodley goodness

Jasmine Palace

Location: Jasmine Palace


Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner for 2
Price:  2860 yen
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes:  Two dinner sets, one coconut chicken curry, one chicken soup
English Menu: No
Smoking: No

My wife and I met another couple with their two children in Yokohama on Wednesday evening.  It's always tough to find somewhere to hang out with kids, so I did some scouting ahead of time and found the Sogo Building out the main East exit of the station.  It's also the location of the YCAT bus line to the airport.  On the 10th floor there are a ton of restaurants and one floor above that is the roof, where there is open space, and an astro-turfed helipad that the kids could run around on.  We sat on the helipad and chatted for a while, then headed downstairs to pick a restaurant to eat at.  We ended up at the Jasmine Palace Vietnamese restaurant.  They immediately combined 3 tables for us, so that was nice.  It's sometimes hard to find a place that can accommodate more than 4 easily.



My wife and I ordered two of the dinner specials which came with a bunch of side dishes, so we got to try a bunch of things.  It was pretty good overall, but honestly the price brought down the rating in my mind.  And it wasn't mind blowing.  I will probably go back to try the pho by itself sometime, and maybe I'll adjust the rating up depending on how that goes.


I have to say they were nice enough to let us eat and then talk for quite a long time without trying to shove us out.  But then again they didn't ever get so full that they might need to ask us to leave.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Tsumugi

Location: Tsumugi


Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  1500 yen
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes:  Wagyu teishoku
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


Met a friend in Yokohama again at the new Antenna America under Yokohama Station in the Food and Time Isetan food court area last night.  Afterwards I looked around for something to eat and settled on Tsumugi.  It reminds me of a slightly more upscale Ootoya.


I ordered a steak teishoku, but it looks like they have some amazing kakigoori (flavored shaved ice) options as well.

The meat was kind of tough and not that great.  The little salad was tasty, as was the egg.  The miso soup was particularly good, but not good enough to raise the rating past an Ok.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ryoubi

Location: Ryoubi


Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 10,200 yen (!)
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Meats, soup, some drinks
English Menu: No
Smoking: Not sure


My son and I went looking for a new spot to eat in Yokosuka.  Had to walk around for quite some time.  Ryoubi is a yakiniku restaurant that replaced something called "Daddy's Kitchen" that I had never gotten around to reviewing.  We decided to try it.


The people were friendly enough, though the menu is all in Japanese.  I ordered for us mostly.  Got some beef dishes, some pork, two soups.  I had a couple of drinks, he had a coke.  I think I ordered a couple more meat dishes later.  It was all pretty normal for yakiniku, nothing special.


We went up to pay and I expected something like 40 or 50 thousand yen.  Instead it was 10,200!  I was a bit taken aback, and there was no itemized bill.  Not wanting to make a stink I paid, but I think I may have had my one and only (so far) instance of being taken advantage of.  I'm not 100% sure, but as I think back on what we ordered it's really hard for me to believe it added up to $90+.  Oh well, definitely drops this place from an Ok to a Not Great rating in my mind at least.