Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nijyu Maru

Location: Nijyu Maru
Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 5165 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Several little dishes
English Menu:Yes
Smoking:Yes (smoking/non-smoking sections)

Another chain izakaya in Yokosuka, Nijyu Maru is typical for it's species.  With a clientele consisting mostly of business men having after work drinking parties, they are a slick operation ready with the drinks and little dishes.  Quality is not really a factor here.  It's located at the top floor of the big building opposite Chuo station which contains a pachinko parlor, arcade, some clothing shops, a 100 yen store, a "used stuff" store, and one of our preferred karaoke spots.  There is another similar izakaya called Hokkaido right next door.  They also have the electronic menu which we did not use as it wasn't working until about half way through the meal.

Mandatory appetizer

My son and I tried it out and they had cha-han on the menu for him, along with tamago.  I ordered the rest of the dishes and some sake to meet the drink quota.  For some reason they made the cha-han last, so he had to wait a long time for his main dish.  Of course by that time I forgot to take a picture of it, oh well.

Nihonshu (sake)

The rest of the dishes were just ok, nothing to get excited about.

Stewed intestines and tamagoyaki

Mega potato salad...actually quite tasty!

Little chewy gyoza, onigiriyaki

Garlic chicken with miso dip

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Location: Zushiya

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch
Price: 1000 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Tsukemen with an egg
English Menu: No
Smoking: No

A new ramen joint in Yokosuka?  You bet!  A friend at work tipped me off to this place, which used to be an izakaya last time I went by, and we decided to try it out for lunch today.

My tsukemen

It's a tonkotsu ramen joint, with the typical options (regular, shio, miso, tsukemen, etc...).  Overall, it was an ok experience, nothing much to write about.

My friend's shio tonkotsu with quail eggs

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Location: Priya

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price:  6000 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Roti, paratha, one curry set (chicken khorma), lamb rojan josh, salt lassi
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

So we are back in Tokyo after our trip to Seoul and we decided to stay the night at the New Sanno as we have to go to church tomorrow in Ueno anyway, so why bother driving all the way home just to turn around and do it again?

Chicken khorma set

We bought my easy to please son a pizza from the place in the hotel and left him in the room with the TV (a treat as we've never had actual TV channels in our home).  We walked up to the restaurant area near Hiroo station and found an Indian restaurant named Priya to check out.

Lamb rogan josh and paratha/roti

We were asked if we had a reservation which we didn't, but they seated us anyway.  The menu was promising with more than just naan, and the large numbers of foreigners (this area is full of diplomatic outposts) indicated it might be better than the average nepalese-indian typical place.  I ordered the lamb rogan josh and my wife ordered a set with chicken khorma.  Her khorma was the best of the night for sure.  The tandoori chicken that came with it was ok, but not on par with Royal Parasol in Hayama.  My rogan josh was a bit disappointing, seeming over tomato-saucy and the meat was a bit tough to chew.  The naan was some of the best I've had in Japan yet, but the paratha and roti seemed made of the same basic stuff, just cooked slightly differently, and both were very heavy and thick, which seemed odd to us.  My salty lassi was excellent, full of spices and herbs.  And they didn't bat an eye when I ordered it even though it wasn't on the menu anywhere.

Over all it was definitely a cut above 90% of the Indian restaurants we've tried in Japan so far, but still not as good as Royal Parasol, which we are grateful to have relatively close to us.  We spied another Indian/Thai (strange combo) restaurant in the area that we may try the next time we are spending the night at the New Sanno.

Chadol House

Location: Chadol House

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 3
Price:  96000 won
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: 1 thinly sliced beef platter, 1 korean beef sirloin cut up, 1 korean beef sirloin large portion, spicy cold noodles, hot miso soup with beef
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

After our less than satisfying recent yakiniku experience in Japan (a common trend) we decided to have our last meal in Seoul at a nearby Korean BBQ (yakiniku) restaurant called Chadol House.  It is literally the closest BBQ spot to the base while walking towards Itaewon, and very easy to get to.  It had pretty high reviews online and seemed a good place to try the "real thing".

Real charcoal grill

It was quite nice, sort of "date spot" feeling if you will.  The area is super trendy with lots of fancy bars and restaurants going up everywhere...a little too hip for us typically.  But the restaurant was welcoming, and the menu nice and simple.  There were about 5 different meat choices, all beef, and we opted for some thinly sliced beef, and two cuts of thick Korean beef sirloin.  It was our last meal and we had cash to burn, so we ordered more expensively and extensively than we typically would.  I had to try some of the soups too, so I got a cold and hot option.  At one point I contemplated getting us some rice too, but the waiter suggested we wait and see what with all the soups coming.  I did order one rice for my son though.

Thin sliced beef and banchan

The thin sliced beef was my son's favorite, and it came frozen in little curled up tubes so you could set it easily on the charcoal grill pot and then it would naturally unfreeze and lay down flat.  Of course we didn't realize this exactly at first and by the time we did the rest had all started to thaw and they were a pain to cook after that.  But being thin, they cook fast, and if you want some extra crisp you can leave it on a little longer.

Thick cut beef, banchan and hot soup

The sirloin cuts were deliciously fatty.  The precut versions were our favorite, because if you get the uncut bigger version you have to use some scissors to cut it up before or after and that's kind of a pain.

But the meat was really just part of the show...the main event was everything else in my opinion.  There were 3 or four different banchan dishes, several types of kimchi, some bean sprouts, lettuce leaves, etc... and when we finished one of the kimchi dishes they immediately refilled it and kept topping everything up.  The soups were both very tasty, with the noodle dish being that very thin, long noodle type that some people choke on, so they cut it up using scissors before we ate it, which I was grateful for.  It was pretty spicy, but not overly so.  The hot soup was delicious as well.

Overall we were all in agreement that it was a night and day difference in comparison to yakiniku in Japan.  Korea does it best, hands down!


Location: Leegimbap

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 3
Price: 13500 won
Payment: Cash only (pretty sure)
Dishes: 3 different kimbap rolls
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

One of our favorite Korean dishes is kimbap, basically Korean sushi rolls, usually without the raw fish, but with more veggies and other ingredients than are typically in Japanese rolls.  I first fell in love with them in elementary school when my Korean classmate would come to school with kimbap for lunch, while all I would get was some crummy P&B sandwich.  We would swap lunches often, and this even led to me being invited over to his house to stay where I got to eat more kimbap, much to my classmate's mother's delight.  Fast forward 30 odd years and turns out my son also loves the stuff.  He is a dorm student at the same school I went to in the Philippines, and these days most of the student body is composed of Koreans.  So naturally at his dorm, where he is the only un-mixed caucasian, there is plenty of Korean food, but especially kimbap.  On our recent trip to Korea, he really wanted to try some there and of course we were eager to as well.

One day after a long morning of touring the big palace grounds we got dropped off near Seoul station and decided to wander amid the office buildings looking for kimbap to eat.  As luck would have it, we stumbled across Leegimbap which purports to have "premium rolls".  We went in and were told to pick something from the glass case of pre-made rolls, which we did.  Only after we started eating did we realize we could have ordered off the menu which had some awesome looking rolls available.  As it was we were not terribly impressed with what we ordered.  They were ok, and the added potato kimchi and broth were delicious, but I think I may have rated it a bit higher had we tried the good stuff.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sigol Bapsang

Location: Sigol Bapsang

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 3
Price:  31000 won
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: 1 bottle of soju (small), 3 courses of banchan dishes with rice and soup, 1 coke
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

Banchan are the many small little dishes that you usually get along with your main dish at a real Korean restaurant.  At Sigol Bapsang you can get the banchan as the main course, with some rice and soup to go along with them.  As we love and miss all the banchan, we made it a point to go to this restaurant and get our fix.

Lovely decor...we opted for actual chairs though

The restaurant is small and run by 4 little old ladies (well, ranging in age from a bit over 50 to goodness knows how old), who welcomed us in to the interestingly decorated place and sat us at a table.  They assumed we were there for the main course, which we were, but I looked around and saw they had several other ala cart items you can order if you wish.

Eat your heart out!

I wanted to try Korean soju, a potent liquor that seems like a relative of Japanese shochu (not our favorite).  The Korean drink was a touch more antiseptic in taste, but it was also quite easy on the mouth and so I can see why people can accidentally drink way too much.  My wife and I polished off the small bottle along with dinner.

Which was really fun...there were sooooo many little dishes to try, with several types of kimchi, namul, chapchae, and on and on and on.  We managed to put down almost everything which is amazing considering our son would only eat a couple of the dishes.  The soup was delicious too, and a touch spicy.  I think it was miso soup, but it had thick tofu cubes and large chunks of stewed zucchini.

Definitely a must eat spot, at least once.  I don't know that I would go back often due to the ubiquity of banchan here in Korea, but if you have been missing that, you've got to give it a try.

While walking there, we apparently found the area where all the Middle Eastern restaurants are clustered.  There were sooo many Turkish and other types of restaurants in the area.  Of course we are here for the Korean food this time, but next time (hah!) my wife and I are talking about doing a Middle Eastern food weekend trip!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Baegnyeon Tojong Samgyetang

Location: Baegnyeon Tojong Samgyetang

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 3
Price:  54000 won
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: 1 bottle of baekseju (small), perilla samgyetang, black garlic samgyetang, fried pork belly with rice
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

So...samgyetang is a Korean ginseng chicken soup.  It's delicious and we had some for the first time tonight.  In Seoul, because we are finally taking a trip over there for a few days.  At last...after all the sub-par Korean food in Japan we are going to get to eat the real thing!  And if tonight's first meal is anything to go by, it is going to be awesome!


I looked up a few articles on various Korean foods to try while in Korea and samgyetang was on several of them.  None of the "best" places are near us, so I asked at the front desk for nearby samgyetang and was told that if we walked out the northern base gate (yes, we are cheating and staying at a hotel on the Yonsang Army base in downtown Seoul) and turned left, we would pass by some kind of official looking Korean army complex, and one of those buildings would have a restaurant in it that specialized in samgyetang.  I wasn't so sure...sounded like cafeteria food or something, but we gave it a shot and were pleased to find...a cafeteria like place in the basement of this building that specialized in samgyetang (4 or 5 types)!

The whole that's the ticket!

My wife and I both ordered different types, mine was the black garlic and my wife's was the perilla type.  Hers was whiter and more thick like rice porridge.  I think we both liked hers better.  Turns out black garlic is a bit sweet.  In each pot was a small half-chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and a few pieces of ginseng.  It was really hot and stayed hot the entire time.  The meat was just falling off the bones and it was really easy to eat with the metal chopsticks, taking bits out and tossing the bones in the provided bucket.  It was slow going though.

The best part though was all the extras!  I'm always so annoyed at Japanese Korean restaurants because they hardly give you anything extra and that's like *basic* to the meal!  There were two types of kimchi (cabbage and daikon), as well as a plate of 3 green chili peppers, raw onions, lettuce leaves and whole Korean shiso leaves (very distinct in flavor from Japanese shiso).

My son ordered some pork belly that they cooked up for him and he ate that with some rice.  Of course we made him eat some lettuce much to his dismay.

Oh I almost forgot, I saw a poster with a bottle of baekseju which I had had years and years ago in the US.  I ordered one and my wife and I drank it between the two of us.  It's about 13% so between the two of us it was just enough.

Overall we were thrilled and can't wait to eat more new and delicious foods while we are here!  More to come...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yakiniku King

Location: Yakiniku King

Rating: Not great
Meal:Lunch for 3
Price: 8600 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: 3 all you can eat yakiniku courses
English Menu: Yes

Take this review with the following caveats:  We have never enjoyed yakiniku in Japan, it was incredibly expensive, and my ratings are more a reflection of how much I look forward to returning rather than the quality of the food or the atmosphere of the place.

That being said, we decided to eat yakiniku for lunch on Sunday, mainly because my son is home for the summer and I thought he'd enjoy it.  The first place we tried was still closed, so we drove down to Kita-Kurihama to try a place that had opened up since we used to live down that way:  Yakiniku King

We got there just before the big rush and only had to wait a short time before we were seated.  They have an electronic wait system where you enter the number of people in your group and then enter your phone number for some reason.  You get a ticket with a number and then they call your number when they are ready to seat you.

We inadvertently ordered the "all you can eat" (i.e. tabehoudai) courses.  Actually, I went to the bathroom and came back and my wife was mad because I left here there alone and she didn't know what she was doing.  As I said, we have never had good experiences at Yakiniku restaurants.  I called the waitress back to find out we had ordered the 3 courses and said "what the heck" and went with it.  We got about 70 minutes to order as much food as we could cook and eat off of the electronic menu.  The food arrived on pretty small plates but there was plenty of selection.  We ended up liking the thin kalbi strips the best as they cooked the fastest.

We ate...and cooked, and ate, and cooked.  Then we were done and paid.  For the price (8600 yen) I was not happy with the experience.  I kept thinking about how much good food we could have had for that much money at other places.

Well, we are headed to Korea this week for our first visit, and I'm soooo looking forward to eating real Korean food finally!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tori Sanwa

Location: Tori Sanwa

Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 3338 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Two oyakodon teishoku
English Menu:Yes

After the baseball game my wife and I hightailed it back to Yokohama station before the crowds hit and decided to eat dinner as the crowds died down.  We had had a "snack" of sorts earlier, but we were now hungry again.

 I lead us underground to one of the multi-floor food areas and we found a restaurant that looked interesting:  Tori Sansa.  They specialize in chicken dishes that probably use a particular breed of chicken here.

Overall we were underwhelmed by the main dishes we had.  They lacked significantly in flavor.  We both like the chicken broth soup though, and the fried chicken bits we had were tasty without being too awful on the breath afterwards.

Just average overall.

Thrashzone Meatballs

Location: Thrashzone Meatballs

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price:  2800 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Two meatball sandwiches, 2 beers
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

Thrashzone is a brewing company/bar in Yokohama, the makers of what is probably my favorite beer in Japan.  Previously I had met up with a friend for theological discussions at the Thrashzone bar near Yokohama train station occasionally.  That place is nice enough, playing soft heavy metal in the background, but only provided some rather excellent french fries on the food menu.  That's ok though because the stars of the place are the beers.  I absolutely love Speed Kills, and their other beers (Hop Deicide being another good one) are excellent if you like strong, northwest style IPAs.


My wife and I went out to a Baystars baseball game in Yokohama on Friday.  She got the tickets for my birthday, but since she knows full well that baseballs games are a special kind of torture for me, she really got them for her birthday, which is in August.  But I'm a good sport (hah!) so I decided to enjoy myself the best I could.  Plus, a Japanese baseball game is it's own unique cultural event, so I was pleased to experience it for the first (and probably last) time.

Speed Kills Light IPA

We had some time before the game began so I began hunting around the area for a place to eat using's handy area reviews (highly recommended!).  I was amazed to discover Thrashzone Meatballs, the first expansion of the Thrashzone brand I am aware of.  It is located very close to the Yokohama Stadium, so we headed for it to see what there was.  Meatballs sounded very intriguing.

Meatball sandwich

It's a very spare, concrete room with the usual beers on tap.  I had the Speed Kills Light, which was just as strong as usual, so maybe the "light" refers to less hops, but I couldn't tell, tasted great to me.  My wife had their stout, which we don't often have, and I have to say I was quite impressed.  The meatballs come in two types:  in a pan or on bread.  We opted for the sandwich variety, which was pretty good actually, though I think you would get more meatballs for the price by going with the pan options (they range from a few up to 13).  The bread wasn't soft nothingness with a good chew, but not too chewy.  The meatballs were the best surprise as they were not that hyper-processed nastiness you get with store-bought meatballs, but were clearly real meat and nicely spiced.  It reminded me of some German dishes we've had before.  They came in a red sauce which didn't overwhelm the sandwich.  Lastly the cheese on top was some kind of real cheese, possibly gouda, also with good flavor.

Overall we were very surprised by the quality of the food and combined with the excellent beer that definitely rates a Very Good in my opinion.  I'll be happy to accompany my wife to future baseball games, as long as it means I get to spend the time in the nearby Thrashzone!