Monday, July 20, 2015

Marunaga

Location: Marunaga


Rating: Very good
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  750 yen
Payment:  Cash only
Dishes:  Chicken katsu with egg and onions
English Menu:No
Smoking:Yes

Update: 4/26/2017 - I am sad to report that Marunaga, along with the liquor store next door, is now closed.  The old couple who ran the shops have decided to enjoy what remains of their retirement.  We will miss them!

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Original Review:

Pictures of food for the menu
I'm not sure if Marunaga is the actual name of this place, but it's the most prominent and easily readable name.  This little mom and pop teishoku place is literally in the same building that I live in.  It's part of a small liquor store (and sometime import shop, we saw honey nut cheerios for sale there once) and I think is run by a husband/wife pair.  I would eat there a whole lot more often if they were open at 11am for lunch, but unfortunately they don't open til 12 noon, so I've only eaten there once before.  They also seem to have somewhat erratic hours as they were closed the other night on Saturday (though they looked open) and here they were open on Monday night.

I was actually going to review the new pizza place after a friend at work said it was really good, better than most attempts at Napoli style pizza, even in Napoli itself!  But it was closed, so it was Marunaga.



That's a ton of food!

And boy, am I glad I went!  The "menu" consists of pictures, either outside or inside.  People do smoke and it's a small place, so be prepared.  Luckily no one was smoking while I was there tonight.  I went for most delicious fried thing I could find, the chicken katsu (breaded, fried) with egg and onions and sweetish sauce.  This is a common type of dish with either pork or chicken, but I always love it.  If you've ever had oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl) it's a very similar combination of flavors



When it came out I was impressed with the size of the meal.  Usually teishoku are a bit smaller in portion sizes, but you get several small dishes so it doesn't seem like a small amount of food.  These portions seemed huge to me!  And wow, each little thing was delicious, chock full of stuff, no skimping here.  First, the salad wasn't just a heap of shredded cabbage, but had cucumbers and tomatoes and several leaves of firm lettuce underneath.  The miso soup had lots of bits of seaweed and tofu in it.  Then there was a dish of something I couldn't identify but had tofu and bits of meat in it.  It was quite substantial and had great flavor!  It might have been a cold take on mabodofu, but I won't hold that against it.  There was also a small slice of tamago cake (egg folded over and slightly sweet).  The rice was the good stuff.  And then the main event:  holy cow, absolutely amazing deep fried, dark meat chicken, cut in huge chunks, smothered with tons of onions, egg and sauce.  I honestly don't think I've had a dish of this type that was so good before.  The closest is the pork nabe at Wako's which is the main reason I like to eat there (that and the clam miso).

After snarfing all that I can confirm it was a ton of food, probably more than one would want to eat regularly.  But there are a ton of other options on the menu too, so pick something that looks lighter if you don't want to feel heavy afterwards.  And did I mention all of this for 750 yen?  That's an incredible price for what you get.  I'm really pleased to be able to give this place a Very Good.  I just realized looking at the map that the 3 closest spots to me, this place, Tamaki and Cha Ra are all Very Goods!  And of course just a block over is the closest Excellent:  Hirokatsu.  Not bad at all. I was feeling a bit down looking around at what I had left to review in the near vicinity.  Being this close to the "honch" and all the sleazy bars wasn't looking too hopeful.  Finding Marunaga to be so good has reinvigorated the search for great food!

A beautiful sunset to cap the night off

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