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Thursday, March 29, 2012

YOTSUYA: Tala Kitchen for some 580yen buttery curry! A bit soupy but tasty.

I think Japan is most beautiful at the end of March and beginning of May when the weather starts to warm up and the amazing Sakura flowers begin to bloom...  looking forward to the next 2 weeks!

About 2pm... this sign caught my eye... simply because of the 580yen price point for curry of your choice, salad and nan or yellow rice.   Even with my hand full of groceries I had to check it out.

Was outside peeking in when the shop waiter stepped outside and said come in come in... oh no! I was spotted and ventured inside.

And there it was... my 580yen Butter Chicken Curry, Nan and Salad with sesame seed dressing.

The butter chicken curry was a bit soupy versus other places where its more creamy.  Rather than dipping this curry requires scooping with the nan due to its wateriness... but honestly for 580yen it hit the spot!  Oh as for the chicken... it should have been renamed Butter Curry with Chicken Bits~.

Nan... Hmm... I'm not sure if there are different versions of this via ingredients but it seemed a bit lower grade.    Hmm... can't quite explain it.  Perhaps eating instant pizza vs a pizzeria.

Small cozy interior.  Counter seating along the window for 4, counter seating facing the entrance for 2 and there were 3 tables.

Ash tray... never a good thing for me.  Luckily nobody was smoking during lunch.

My view from the counter seat.

Menu outside the entrance.  Tala Kitchen will definitely hit your spot similar to having a late day coffee or tea... but unless you are willing to pay 750yen for the double curry or 980yen double curry and 2 pieces of Chicken Tika it will only satisfy your craving for curry and will leave you feeling hungry.  Service was excellent  and water refills prompt... But I have never seen butter chicken curry for 580yen before so I may give it a go someday. 

Shop: Tala Kitchen 
Address J: 東京都新宿区四谷2-9-15 サンサーラ四谷 1F、2F
Address E: Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Yotsuya 2-9-15

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NERIMA-KASUGACHO: TonTo Izakaya in a small quiet town on the Oedo-Line... friendly home style foods.

A friend of mine's son runs this cozy little Izakaya in Nerima-Kasugacho on the far end of the Oedo-line.  It neighbors a great little Hawaiian Bar called Ohana.

One of the best baked onigiri with miso paste topping..

Salt niku-jaga in a clear broth 580yen

Okinawa salt yakisoba 750yen (serving for 2)... this was nice.

I doubt that many of you will ever wander into this town just to have a bite but if you live in the Nerima area its only a few stations away on the Oedo-line.  Everything we had was very homestyle and good... a must is the Edamame seasoned in wasabi.  

Shop: TonTo Izakaya
Address J: 東京都練馬区春日町3-34-21 エステートピア鹿島
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Kasugacho 3-34-21

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After TonTo give Ohana Hawaiian Bar a try next door (in the same building).

L shaped counter seating and sofa seating for 4 people by the entrance.

George's Havana Style Mojito... one of the smoothest I've had... used 4 ice cubes instead of crushed ice.

Chef George will make just about anything and puts his heart into it... 

Original Tropical Ocean.

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GINZA: Arossa... but I guess the winning streak had to end. Lunch was not a hit.

Arossa is simply one of the BEST 1,000yen lunch choices in posh Ginza with their ever changing daily lunch specials and perfect service... but this day we should have looked at the menu before venturing inside.  My reviews are always great but not this day.

Started off with their standard Mori-Mori salad...

Followed by their seafood and cabbage marinade seasoning... basically mushy salty mayo tuna with seasoned cabbage.  Unbelievably we both left this nearly untouched.

Chicken was juicy and sat on a nice bed of famous Arossa mashed potatoes... It didn't stand out as in my previous lunch adventures here but was simply ok.

Selected hot tea over the coffee.

And closed off with the familiar green tea granita ice.  Just as with Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks even Arossa has a bad day.  This is still tops on my list of favorite Tokyo lunches so please please give it a try.  Go early because some days they sell out of the lunch.

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ROPPONGI: Kourakuen for 290yen Chinese Soba (Ramen)... regrets regrets

Kourakuen is located all throughout Japan and the only time I really have a craving is when I have loose change in my pocket or want something very quick to eat in a roomy atmosphere.  I mean could you really go wrong with 290yen?

There is a great selection of noodles and combo meals on the menu... won't see this at most Ramen shops.

But my target was the 290yen Chuka-Soba (Chinese Ramen)... if I was to pay anymore then I'd probably hit up another ramen shop near by.

And my noodles arrive...

Noodles are not the traditional Japanese style but more of an instant ramen texture...  Soup was a very simple shoyu based flavor.  

Thin slices of char-siu pork... again nothing that will make you start craving extra slices.

The noodles are rather boring and leaves you wondering was it really worth the 290yen to add 577 calories to your waistline... hmm even foodies don't quite praise this spot ... the best part of this location was the extremely spacious booth seating.  Its very difficult to simply hang out and chat with your friends at a normal ramen shop as they prefer a higher turn-around but at this location you can take your time... Near Roppongi crossing so if you want something cheap and not a ramen connoisseur then give it a try~. 

Shop: Kourakuen Roppongi branch.
Address J: 東京都港区六本木7-14-13
Address E: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 7-14-13

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

ROPPONGI: Frey's Famous Pizzeria for Sunny Side Up aka Bismarck! (REVISITED)

Randomly checking Japan's top foodie review site to see Frey's has jumped into the top 3 Best Pizzerias in Tokyo!  Wow...  So I was off to visit Chef Yamaguchi-san!

I was hoping to try the Margherita pizza for lunch this day as I had the Marinara for my last visit but Yamaguchi-san suggested the...

(Side orders for lunch)

...Sunny Side Up!  Most commonly known as the Bismarck Pizza but he wanted the name to bring up images  of egg rather than wondering why Bismarck to those customers who are mainly familiar with Margherita and Marinara (Japan's top 2 offerings for lunch at most Pizzeria's).  

The Sunny Side Up Pizza lunch comes with a small salad, pizza and espresso for 1,300yen. 

Chef Yamaguchi at work making two Sunny Side Up's... another person ordered the same when he said that I had to try this.  

This pizza is very interesting... He started off to what looks a Marinara pizza creation.... then begins to add Mozzarella cheese as if a Margherita Pizza... then closes by adding one raw egg in the middle, parmigiana cheese and then ends with olive oil topping.  You really get a little bit of everything...

Instructions were to mix the yellow egg yolk slowly into the other ingredients...

And there it is!  The egg added a nice creamy texture, mozzerella a kind chewy texture, hint of fresh garlic gave it a kick and of course the crust was perfectly chewy to the end.  A solid meal for sure.

He will make only 5-10 servings of the Sunny Side Up so get there a little early if you can... I arrived at 1:30pm and got lucky. 

No Smoking!  Excellent....

FREY's pizza boxes are all hand written...

He has now been open for 1 year and he said word has gotten out... shop is very busy and sometimes serves up to 80 pizza's during lunch.  Cozy friendly pizzeria... give it a try, you can't go wrong!

Shop: FREY' Famous Pizzeria
Address J: 東京都港区六本木4-5-15
Address E: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 4-5-15

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