Mozuku(seaweed in vinegar) and sesame tofu. Sashimi.
Anko-nabe(Angler-fish/Monkfish hotpot). So good! The big pile of orange paste is Ankimo, which the madam told us to taste a bit before she put the lid on the nabe. The dashi is delicious from the start – we all drank a bowl while waiting for the ingredients to be cooked. The meat of Anko has firm texture, the skin is jelly-like and chewy(full of collagen). The rich-tasting Ankimo is of course the best part! Rice and egg are added to the soup to make zouzui. Yum!
This place is very popular during winter season when Anko is available. I had to book like 2 months ago and it was not an easy task cos the staff don’t seem to be very patient on the phone. While you are there, they are efficient and simply do everything for you – you just sit and wait for your bowl of food. You are only allowed 2 hours, which is more than enough because, before you finish the sashimi, they will start making the hotpot, and before you finish your first bowl of anko and soup, the staff will come and scoop more ingredients into your (donburi-size)bowl. We had to wait a long time for the zousui though(Maybe they forgot to cook rice? ^^;;).
The place was packed with people smoking so not exactly a comfortable place to stay long. In fact I got a massive headache because the guy at the next table(very close) was an impossible chain-smoker who didn’t quite stop even when he was eating.
We all had beer and nihonshu, about 6600yen each. Well very reasonable for the amount and quality of food you get. Taste-wise this place definitely makes it to my favourites, but the environment is a little too much for me!
A dinner course of wild animal meat. Simmered wild boar and radish. Venison sashimi. The wild boar meat and the raw venison both don’t have the bitter taste or unpleasant smell I expected of game meat. Very light and easy to eat. Venison is lean and healthy, very soft.
Wild boar sukiyaki. Miso is added to the sukiyaki, the soup base is quite strong. Probably that’s why there is no distinct smell or taste from the meat since the strong soup is covering it up. The wild boar meat is very hard at first, but the more you cook it, the softer it becomes.
Venison Tatsuta-age(i.e. meat is marinated with soy sauce before deep-frying). Venison is lean and gets a bit dry and “sandy” when cooked, but it is well-seasoned and frying it gives it back a little fat. ^^;;
Tanukijiru(racoon-dog miso soup). Gosh, this soup is one strong experience of the wilderness. ^^;; There are only bits of racoon-dog meat, which stink even stronger than the soup when you chew it. Everyone else was okay and absolutely loved it. I thought it was delicious too(seriously!), but I couldn’t help feeling a bit sick at the same time. ^^;; The course doesn’t include udon but we ordered it to put into the leftover sukiyaki(must add water to dilute it though cos it is so strong), which is very very yummy.
Red bean and chestnut ice-cream.
I didn’t realise it at that time but when I got home, all my clothes stank as if I had been to the zoo.