Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 4780 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: rafute, genghis khan, 3 pcs teriyaki chicken, 3pcs tandoori chicken, 3 pcs some other kind of chicken, small rice, coke, gin and tonic
English Menu: No
Smoking: Partial non-smoking area
Thursday night has become "let's try out a new izakaya night" with my son. This time it was Banzai, an upscale izakaya that's part of a local chain I believe. I think I reviewed a different branch the other week (http://jcfoodreviews.blogspot.jp/2016/04/banzai-sakaba.html). The building is older, with lots of brick and weathered wood. Definitely a funky vibe. Also oddly for an izakaya, it's not just one big open area, but there are little compartments. There was a sign at the entrance saying it has "partial non smoking areas" which I take to mean they'll do their best but your mileage may vary. We had no issues that evening however.
The waiter at the entrance looked a bit wild about us coming in and made clear that there was no English menu, to which I replied that we would be fine and he relented and seated us. He wasn't unfriendly and seemed eager to try his English skills on us, but there are times I've found with Japanese restaurants where you have to be a bit pushy to force your way in if you are being given the cold shoulder. And there are times where they just flat out don't want to deal with gaijin and won't budge. You have to play it by ear really...
The menu is definitely difficult to read, even if you read hiragana/katakana, but we found some stuff anyway. With no chahan (fried rice) to order, my son went with chicken, the teriyaki and tandoori, each of which came with 3 largish pieces. I ordered him a small bowl of rice and coke too. For myself, I went with the rafute (okinawan slow cooked pork belly) and genghis khan (lamb and vegetable stir fry). Not wanting to be left out, I also got a 3 piece chicken dish, but it was all in kanji and I couldn't make sense of what the waiter told me, other than it was "Japanese taste." I ended up not needing any rice for myself. I also ordered a gin and tonic as they had a special advertised and I am trying out gin these days. And they brought an otoshi (mandatory appetizer) which was cooked eggplant with dashi flakes on top.
Despite all the food being pretty good, I was a bit disappointed by the quality of the rafute and lamb meat. Rafute should be melt in your mouth delicious, but this stuff was kind of chewy like it had been recently cooked instead of slow cooked. The lamb was also a bit chewy and the dish itself wasn't much different from me throwing something together at home. I should have gone with the goya champuru I guess but I figured I should try something different. The chicken pieces were all pretty good, and I really liked the eggplant dish. But overall, for the price, I think I have to rate this place just an Ok.
|3 types of chicken|