Sunday, November 27, 2016

Beavertails

Location: Beavertails


Rating: Very good
Meal:  Lunch snack
Price:  1150 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Nutella covered and basil garlic butter
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

Sadly, the pouteen was sold out

Seeking to make the most of our "street/fair food" frenzy at the La Qua near the Tokyo Dome, my wife and I determined to have some of the delicious looking "beavertails" (aka fried bread with stuff on) being sold from a mobile van in the middle of the open area.  Oh my, am I glad we did!  This stuff is like manna from heaven!  You can put pretty much anything on top, or just slather with butter and go to town!  Not overly oily, and deliciously crisp in the center, they are dangerously addictive.  Probably a good thing we don't have one anywhere near us.


Beavertails is a Canadian franchise, so I'm not sure how it got over here, but I'm glad it did.  Maybe we'll see more of them around town if they get popular.  Highly recommended.

Park Street Cafe

Location: Park Street Cafe


Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 1058 yen
Payment: Credit cards probably accepted
Dishes: 2 raclette hot dogs
English Menu:  Yes
Smoking:  No


For lunch on Saturday my wife and I tried a few street-food-ish places in the restaurant park near the Tokyo Dome after spending the night at the nearby hotel.  There was this strange Park Street Cafe that specialized in raclette cheese hotdogs that looked interesting so we started there.


The menu is skewed heavily towards the raclette hotdogs so we stuck with those, ordering two of the basics.  They genuine raclette cheese wheels under hot lamps, melting the next batch of cheese to be scraped off onto a Japanese style hotdog (closer to a german sausage really).  And that's pretty much it...scarf your cheesy dog and go on your way!

The cheese was pretty good, with a slight emmentaler flavor to it, but not as strong as I like my cheese to smell.  And of course the dog was nothing to write home about.  But it was nice enough, and not terribly expensive (sheesh...my standards have changed living in Japan where over $5 for a hotdog doesn't phase me!).

Morizumi Kitchen

Location: Morizumi Kitchen


Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 2600 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Cheesy tomato sauce gyoza, chicken broth ramen, special miso ramen
English Menu:  Yes
Smoking:  No



My wife and I spent the night at the Tokyo Dome Hotel on Friday as she had a very late night roller derby scrimmage to attend at one of the very few real roller skating rinks in Japan.  Since the scrimmage didn't start until 10pm, we spent a pleasant evening wandering around the environs and looking for dinner.  Initially we weren't going to do ramen, but then we spied The Noodle Shop which looked very different from the typical ramen joints we are used to.  So we decided it would do nicely.



We both loved the looks of a cheezy tomato gyoza so we got one of those.  And my wife is always partial to a chicken broth based ramen, so that's what she went for.  I felt obligated to try something not on the seasonal menu, so I got a special miso base ramen.



The gyoza was ok...we were a bit disappointed by the tomato sauce which kind of overwhelmed the flavor of the gyoza.  I think fresh tomatoes would have been better.  My wife quite liked her chicken ramen, but I wasn't too impressed with the flavor.  Same with my miso ramen.  The broth was interesting, but didn't really hold up to the noodles so once you really started eating it the taste was rather bland.  I did enjoy drinking the last of the broth up as then you could really taste it.  I wonder if their tsukemen would be a better option.


Anyway, overall I have to say we enjoyed it at around an Ok rating.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chez Tasaka

Location: Chez Tasaka

Rating: Very good
Meal:  Lunch
Price:  1720 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Lunch set including salad with fresh sashimi, white radish soup, wagyu with mushrooms, and coffee
English Menu: No
Smoking: Uncertain but I think no



Chez Tasaka is a little french restaurant located along a little alley way that's not the friendliest looking area at first blush.  However, it has always stood out as their menu was quite pricey and it was always full of people whenever I would look in around dinner time.  Today I had my bike and was hunting for places open for lunch and despite the still pricey lunch time menu I decided to give it a try.


Aji sashimi salad

I was a bit surprised to find the inside to be a bit disheveled and one older gentleman running the place.  But his English was quite good, despite a rather bad cold, and we had no trouble communicating.  I wasn't quite in the mood for the cheapest item (1200 yen), and omurice dish, so I went up to the full lunch set.  The choices are meat or fish, and coffee or tea.  I went with the meat/coffee option.


White radish soup

I was alone for the first bit, but people started trickling in later on.  Good thing though as things were moving a bit slowly and I'm glad I was at the front of the queue.  The first dish was a sashimi salad.  The chef was concerned to let me know the aji (Japanese Horse Mackerel) was very fresh.  I don't know about that, but it was delicious.  Next came a white radish soup (daikon perhaps?) that was tasty and warm.  Then the main dish which I was assured consisted of very special wagyu (which is Japanese for "Japanese beef" by the way).  I don't know about its pedigree, but it was indeed extremely soft and tender, seared nicely but still barely cooked in the middle.  And the enoki mushrooms in sauce that accompanied it were excellent.  Later on he came by with another pan seared eryngii mushroom as well.  All of it was topped off by a welcome tiny cup of strong coffee with real cream added.


Wagyu with mushrooms

So despite the ramshackle appearance of the place and the sniffles of the proprietor, the food was actually quite good, and I think I'd give the place a shot for a dinner date night at some point.


Coffee

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Taikoubo

Location: Taikoubo


Rating: Very good
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  3230 yen (includes sake)
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Sashimi for one, grilled tuna cheek bits with garlic
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Yes

I'm still cleaning up some of the many little restaurants in Yokosuka and I had the evening to myself last night so I went to Taikoubo which is located pretty close to where I live.  It's right next to Hotaru, which is quite good and a bit more gaijin friendly, so typically I would probably opt for Hotaru, but I gotta try something new now and then.

Mandatory appetizer

Taikoubo is a fish-focused izakaya, with bar and tatami seating.  The chef was mostly preparing sushi and sashimi dishes while I was there, but they do have some other options on the menu.  I was glad for the English menu I was presented with as the Japanese one was full of dense kanji and I wasn't too confident I would come out with something I liked.  I went for a one person serving of sashimi and grilled tuna cheek with garlic.  Also, I saw that had Dassai, a quality sake brand that I've been  meaning to try for some time, so I had to order one of those.


The sashimi was mostly quite good, though the tuna was still frozen which I found a little off putting.  The tuna cheek was excellent however, incredibly tasty like the most tender steak in the world.  And the sake was also quite good.  So over all I'm giving the place a Very Good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Umayado

Location: Umayado

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch
Price: 720 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Shougayaki (ginger fried pork) teishoku
English Menu:No
Smoking:Yes


I had my bike the other day for lunch so I rode into town looking for something I had not yet reviewed.  I found Umayado, a smokey little cafeteria located in the corner of a seedy looking hotel.  Pretty simple menu, nicely illustrated with fake food out front.  Nothing really special, but still pretty tasty.



Monday, November 14, 2016

Royal Spice Uraga

Location: Royal Spice


Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 1650 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Keema curry with naan, Pork curry with naan, rice (free)
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


Royal Spice is an Indian restaurant located in a very odd place...way down the road, past Uraga proper, in a spot I kind of can't believe would ever have thought it wanted an Indian restaurant.  It's a branch of a chain that had a tiny location near Yokosuka Chuo at one time, but does have a couple more spots up in Yokohama area too (Shin Sugita station).  It is owned by an Indian, but run mostly by Nepalese from what I can tell.  I had heard about the branch in Uraga a couple of years back at the Yokosuka Curry Festival (yes, this is a thing) as they had representation there.  Of course, it is my mission to eat at all Indian restaurants I can find, so my wife and I planned many times to either bike out there or meet someone who lives in the area for lunch sometime.  However it never seemed to happen, until last Sunday.  It was a beautiful day and we had some time, so we decided to ride our bicycles down to Uraga via Kannonzaki, making the loop around one of the pincers that form the entrance to Tokyo Bay.  And we stopped for a late lunch at Royal Spice.

Can't really tell which is which...

While I am rating this place "Ok", there were some things we liked about it.  First of all the chef/waiter/everything person was very personable and we had good conversation with him (Vishnu was his name I believe).  He is Nepali himself, and only in country about a year, though since he's stuck out in the sticks with this restaurant all by himself, I imagine his Japanese has improved much more than mine.  Second, the naan, which I was forced to eat because there was no rice, was well made despite its sweetness.  Vishnu too lamented the inevitable sweetness of the bread and curries of all Japanese Indian restaurants, but as I've heard every where else this is done to suit Japanese taste (which despite the propaganda, displays the Japanese sweet tooth prominently).  The bread itself was thick and chewey, without the extremely processed feel of most naan in Japan.  My pork curry was decently spicy terribly sweet.  My wife's keema was on the soupy side (as was mine) and definitely a bit sweeter.

Can't really tell which is which...

Overall we were pleasantly surprised, especially given the lackluster Indian meal we had eaten the previous night.  However, this served to recalibrate my rating for that restaurant down to a "Not Great" so that I could give this place a solid "Ok."

New Delicious

Location: New Delicious
Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 2875 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Samosas, chili chicken, special mutton dry curry, garlic rice, naan
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


Looking back it's been a while since I reviewed a restaurant as "Not Great."  Unfortunately, it is something that must be done now and then.  My wife and I heard about a new Indian restaurant in Yokosuka (Really?  Another one?) and decided to walk down and check it out this weekend.  It's located way down past Verny Park right next to the Yokosuka train station (not to be confused with Yokosuka Chuo station which is a different train line).  It's a bit of a walk from where we live, but it was a pleasant evening.


Lo and behold, when we rounded the bend, we saw the name of the place was "New Delicious," so apparently this is an offshoot of the Delicious Indian restaurant that is the closest one to our apartment.  We actually don't mind Delicious, so we figured this place might be similar.


Wishing to try some different things, my wife ordered the samosas (2 pieces), chili chicken and a piece of naan.  I went for the special mutton dry curry and some garlic rice.  The samosas were actually pretty good, so no complaints there.  The chili chicken was a bit disappointing, consisting of a neon red sweet and sour gelatinous goop over some vegetables and fried chicken pieces.  My mutton dry curry was oddly unpleasant as well in a hard to define way.  It definitely wasn't dry...more thick...super thick but also smooth.  The mutton pieces were very chewy.  And the meal didn't sit well with either of us later that evening.


I was going to rate it an Ok, but the next day we ate at a different Indian place that we thought was better, but still just Ok, so that puts this one down a notch into Not Great territory.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cafe Marine

Location: Cafe Marine

Rating: Very good
Meal:  Lunch
Price:  780 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Soup curry + rice
English Menu:No
Smoking:No


Housed in the building formerly occupied by Vapeswitch (which moved across the street), Cafe Marine is a new small restaurant run by a very friendly older gentleman, a former Japanese Navy diver.  They have a small menu with the usual Yokosuka Navy Curry, but additionally had a surprising soup curry that I had to try.


The soup curry was amazingly tasty!  With some large roasted vegetables (sweet potato, green pepper and carrot) along with a generous piece of curry paste covered and roasted chicken, it really hit the spot.  I did order a small rice after a while as I could tell I'd have lots of curry soup left over and dumping the rice in there was just the ticket.

The place is quite large, with 3 floors.  The main restaurant area is down stairs, the middle area is a large, chair filled area that is free to use as long as you buy a drink.  It includes a white-board and TV for those who might want to hold little study sessions, or teach English.  The upper floor is the roof, which is available, along with some barbecues for people to use.  I assume this would require a reservation.

He also mentioned that this evening he was doing a big custom dinner for several Japanese people, making nabe (hot-pot soup).  This requires a call ahead to make your order ahead of time I believe.

Overall, I quite like this place, and I really enjoyed my meal.  It's also nice that they are our neighbors as our apartment building is literally next door.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cafe Enak

Location: Cafe Enak

Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner
Price: 3000 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Chicken and goat satay, tempeh and tofu, stir fried vegetables (kang kong), chicken nasi goreng
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No (I think)



I heard about Cafe Enak from a friend at work who said they had a lot more items on the menu than typical for an Indonesian restaurant in Japan.  My wife and I were traveling home from a weekend trip to Karuizawa and we realized we'd be passing by Cafe Enak which is near Atsugi (near the Ebina train stop), so we figured we'd stop by for dinner.


The restaurant itself is very nice, with interesting decor and a cozy feel, but still plenty of space.  It's right next to the big Ebina Lalaport Mall, but not inside of it.  The menu is pretty easy to read and there are some pictures available.  We went with several dishes, more than we'd usually get, but we wanted to sample several.


The tempeh was delicious and the chicken satay pretty good too.  The goat satay was a little tough though.  I was a bit disappointed we had to get a meat nasi goreng as there was no plain option, but I wanted some rice.  I wasn't too impressed with it, as it seemed to contain what looked like frozen peas and carrots from a store.  The flavor was ok though.  The kang kong was also just ok.  Actually overall the flavors just weren't that interesting, fairly simple and one-noted.  I expected more...