778 W 16th Avenue
Original post below:
[Apologies for the low quality images, just the first one was taken with a simple point & shoot digital, whereas the others were taken with my cell phone. The setting inside with many customers in a close space was not conducive to whipping out the big DSLR.]
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hachibei. Long on my to-check-out list, but never quite enticing enough to warrant it rising to the top. In a quest for some good Japanese comfort food, we finally made the short trip out to this place. As you can see from the outside, it was fairly plain and nothing screamed at me that I would be getting a great meal.
I understand that there had been an ownership change and people lamented the shift that occurred, mostly saying that prices were up and quantities were down. To me, I tend to read that and think that things are on the up, as most people are looking for cheap value and don’t care about the quality. Different strokes for different folks.
After deciding that we’d each be having one of the teishoku (set meals), I decided to tempt fate by ordering a sample of their very limited sushi items. The nigiri was particularly scarce, with only shake (salmon), maguro (tuna), and tamago (egg) available. Surprisingly, it was not bad. I was particularly pleased with the shari (sushi rice), good firmness of each grain and seasoned appropriately.
I think I might have had visions of the fresh oysters in my mind from a while back, as I ordered the kaki furai teishoku (deep fried oysters set meal). It was served with a side green salad drizzled with dense mayonnaise-base dressing, and a mound of Japanese-style mashed potatoes. Also of course, a bowl of steamed white rice and a light miso soup. Each oyster was quite large, much to my delight, and very meaty with a thin layer of breaded encapsulating each piece. It took a great effort to get through each piece. By the end, I was quite full.
My dining companion had the hire katsu (fillet cut of tenderloin). I was permitted a sample and wow, this was very good! The brutally bad image here does not do it justice at all. Very lean texture and the similar breading and degree of deep frying as my excellent oysters were.
Clearly, my subdued expectations must have helped here. Though thinking rationally after the fact, I am still impressed with the degree of satisfaction I had. Each teishoku was I believe under just over ten dollars [edit: sorry, typo here), though I can’t fathom why people out there are griping loudly about the price (then again, not sure what they used to be and the quality contained therein). Hachibei on just this one visit alone, has surpassed my top choice in the area for this style of Japanese home cooking, elapsing Tenhachi that I’ve slowly come to perceive as declining in satisfaction while their prices increase.