Saturday, July 25, 2015


Location: Ren

Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  3260
Payment:  Cash only
Dishes: Whale tongue, "bacon" and tempura
English Menu: No
Smoking: Yes

Potato salad, why?!
Hold the pitchforks please, but while I like looking at whales as much as the next human, I still believe them to be animals, and I also believe that one difference between animals and humans is that it is morally permissible for humans to eat animals.  I have a rule concerning food:  I will try anything once.  And since I had never tried whale meat before, and there is a whale meat izakaya in Yokosuka, I figured I should give it a try at least once.

Ren is located in a back corner up against the road that leads up to the local shrine and buddhist temples (which has a big sign saying No US Forces permitted up here!).  I wasn't sure what to expect inside, but the signs on the outside indicated on thing for sure:  expensive food!  So strike one against whale meat:  if it's expensive and not mind-blowing, I probably won't be eating any more.

"Bacon" on the left, tongue on the right
The menu is completely Japanese with funky kanji (special Kanji for types of whales and weird cuts of meat and such) which made it nigh on impossible to pick something easily.  So I resorted to pointing and hoping.  Unusually the staff actually came back to me after I had ordered a couple of things and suggested I order something else.  I thought, since I'll only be here once probably, why not, and went ahead and ordered it.  It looked fried, which boded well.

Whale tempura
I have to say the staff was very friendly and tried their best to communicate in what English they knew.  The even took a picture of me "for facebook" (I do not dabble).

It's an izakaya, so they started me off with an unasked for dish of potato salad.  Man I hate potato salad.  Oh well.  The first two orders arrived, minuscule slices of whale sashimi.  The tongue was mostly fat, quite oily tasting, with a small amount of meat on the edge.  The "bacon" was yellowish looking and a bit bland.  All of the sashimi was very cold, I assume because it is kept frozen.  Whale meat, as I understand it, comes in via some very questionable channels, so the distribution is pretty much all frozen.  I was glad when the tempura style dish arrived, again very small, and I found it pretty tasty.  The meat was very dark and had a rich flavor.

Well, that's it for my whale meat adventure.  I wasn't about to kill my wallet further on something that was only so so, and while I appreciate the friendliness of the place, they don't have anything that will likely draw me back, unless a friend or visitor begs me to show them the "whale meat" restaurant someday.

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