Namoo Sushi – Port Moody, BC


Namoo Sushi
3003 St Johns Street
Port Moody, BC
(604) 949-1017

In an attempt to bolster the registry of locations outside of the usual haunts in the GVRD, a quick lunch stopover in Port Moody while on the hunt for other sweet goodies took place that led me here, to Namoo Sushi.  Funny sounding name indeed, but namoo means tree in Korean (and is also the symbol I see on their business card).  The location is in a commercial building along the main thoroughfare of the old section of this quaint city.  Parking was available just outside.

My visit took place on a weekend, roughly after the 1pm time frame.  A few tables were occupied but it seemed they were known/friendly with the staff.  I saw a drop in customer come get some take away as well.  Service was polite and attentive before and during my meal, I just ran into a bit of lack of attention when I tried to pay (stood way too long at the register with her seated in discussion with the chefs just meters away).  I’m not sure how busy this place can get, and it was hard to judge how the wait staff would cope when it busier.

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Kimura – Vancouver, BC


Kimura Sushi & Japanese Cuisine
3883 Rupert Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 569-2198

[Re-visit (Feb 2011) post here]

There seemed to be some buzz in the local community surrounding this newly opened sushi-ya on the city’s east side, not traditionally an area that one associates with the best Vancouver has to offer in this genre of cuisine, so I added it to my list of places to visit upon returning from my latest summer Asia adventures.  This meal at Kimura took place on a quiet weekend afternoon in the hopes of taking in the reputed laid back, jazz-infused environment that I’d heard about through the grapevine and local blogging community.  With a few tables and seats at the bar counter occupied, it was just right in terms of ambient people noise and atmosphere as I gingerly slid my jet-lagged body into a chair for a meal with one of my most hardest-to-please sushi eating associates.

I won’t repeat what others have gone into in terms of the proprietor’s background and restaurant experience as its been laid out more than enough times for those that want to learn about it.  In any event, its a welcome arrival from my perspective, and hope others in the city make their way here to take in a careful (e.g. not rushed) service and meal with some quality ingredients and preparation.  Just make sure if you do, to keep your eye out for this place as its not the easiest to spot if you’re coming from the other side of the street as its nestled subtly into a building that houses some other businesses, with plenty of natural foliage (for as long as the leaves survive anyways) of mature trees further blocking the view.

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Shiro’s Sushi – Seattle, WA


Shiro’s Sushi
2401 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA
(206) 443-9844

I have had Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant on my wishlist for a few years, ever since I learned about the master-student relationship between Japan’s revered sushi master Jiro Ono, and Shiro Kashiba.  When I recently found myself on a short notice trip to Seattle, I was elated to learn that we scored a dinner reservation.

Unfortunately Kashiba-san was out of town, so we were at the mercy of his deshi.  The many reviews out there, state that the best seat in the house is at the sushi bar (which was full), so we opted for the Kaiseki dinner to give us an opportunity to try a variety of dishes.  With three price-points to choose from, we went with the $80 middle option.

We begin with a trio of appetizers:  tempura of king salmon wrapped with smelt, asparagus with a miso dressing, and yellowtail collar. At first glance, I thought we were given a fried salmon roll, but the tempura of two variety of fish with a squeeze of lemon made this the stand-out of the trio.

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CoCoLo – Vancouver, BC


CoCoLo Japanese Casual Dining & Sake Bar
#202 – 1926 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
(604) 732 4676

So with all of that in mind, I cannot even rationalize why it was me, who boldly suggested to an acquaintance that we venture out to what I’d heard was yet another place riding the izakaya wave.

Figuring to keep up with the local way of experiencing an izakaya, I went with the mindset that I would eat more than drink.  But in the end, we did put down a few bottles of Asahi, so all was not lost.

Located across the street but on almost the same block as the excellent Zakkushi, and next door to the highly lauded and recently opened Maenam, is CoCoLo – which bills itself as Japanese casual dining plus sake bar. Open since the early part of June, CoCoLo took over the long standing Kitsilano institution for high end sushi, Shijo.  After apparently shifting to new management in 2008, the apparent decline in food quality and business lead to an unfortunate end to their operations.

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Foodosophy of Sushi – A Dialogue


Irasshaimase!!!

Please have a seat at the counter…

Legend: o-toro / foodosopher ([food-o]) / shokutsu

[o-toro] Sushi is a topic which tends to stir a lot of debate due to its recent mainstream acceptance around the globe. We have (at times) been called sushi snobs, for having extremely high standards when it comes to this Japanese delicacy. So I figured it was about time that we (as a team) put in writing our honest thoughts on this topic – to start some dialog about the food itself.

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Nobu – Las Vegas, NV


Nobu –  Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Tel: 702.693.5090

Nobu, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant chain following in the footsteps of the original ‘Matsuhisa’.  This chain – was created by Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert deNiro.  This high-end chain of restaurants has a presence in cities across the globe.

My first ever visit to Las Vegas was work related – to attend one of their massive conventions.  Lucky for me, my boss (at the time) shared a love for Japanese food, which resulted in my required attendance for dinner at Nobu.  Located inside the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, Nobu is tucked away just off the main floor casino.  I didn’t have much time to peruse the menu – as we had decided prior to arriving that we would be having the ‘omakase’ (Chef’s choice) dinner.

They offer two different versions of ‘omakase’.  The first ~$100 included a selection of regular menu items, filtered by preferences and general likes/dislikes as questioned by the server.   The second version ~$150 included some more exotic items, and higher quality ingredients.  This posting covers two separate dining experiences about a year apart – covering both.

BASIC OMAKASE:

After enjoying a round of cocktails to get the evening started, the fun began:

The first dish to arrive was a bluefin toro tartar with black caviar.  Chopped toro sashimi, formed in a circle mold, sitting in a sauce of soy, wasabi, garlic and onion.  This was by far – my absolute favorite!  (My dining companion had issues with caviar, which they gladly accommodated.)

Bluefin toro tartare with (and without) caviar

Bluefin toro tartare with (and without) caviar

Second to arrive was kampachi sashimi, each slice topped with thin slices of jalapeno pepper.  I’ve had this (since) prepared both as-described, and with the ‘new-style sashimi’ twist – where the sashimi is drizzled with smoking-hot oil.  In both cases – the cool buttery kampachi and kick from the jalapeno, match spot-on.

Kampachi sashimi with Jalapeno

Kampachi sashimi with Jalapeno

Third dish, was a seared tuna salad.  Specifically – I believe this was seared ahi-tuna, with two small pieces of maki (snow crab wrapped with daikon), dressed with a ponzu & daikon dressing.  Unanimous decision –  this was superb.

Seared tuna salad

Seared tuna salad

Fourth, was announced as Nobu’s signature dish – black cod in miso.  Baked black cod in a sweet miso sauce, garnished with a fried shiso leaf, and umeboshi.  My dining companion selected this as their favorite at the end of the evening.

Black Cod with Miso

Black Cod with Miso

Fifth to arrive was the rock shrimp tempura with creamy spicy sauce.  The sauce is a spicy mayo, where the spice heat-level is quite low.  Of all of the dishes – this was the least interesting.  Still very addictive, but it seemed a little too common for this setting.

Rock Shrimp in creamy-spicy sauce

Rock Shrimp in creamy-spicy sauce

Next a plate of Nigiri Sushi arrived – with a basic selection of items.  Well made, and presented – as expected.

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Lastly – a small bento box arrived containing the dessert course.  Removing the lid, uncovered a flourless chocolate cake, green tea ice cream, and a white chocolate sauce.  The photographed dish was the special birthday presentation they provided – containing the same items – but with a nice birthday flair.

Flourless chocolate cake with green tea ice cream

Flourless chocolate cake with green tea ice cream

Overall – this dining experience does sit as one of the more memorable.   Each dish was very well done, tasted great, and all parties enjoyed every single dish!

SPECIAL OMAKASE:

Again, starting the meal with a round of cocktails, we eagerly awaited the food tour to begin:

Trio of Ceviches:  An oyster shooter (fresh oyster with a citrus sauce and an egg yolk), Lobster Ceviche & Caviar:  (not my favorite – it seemed as though they forgot to add a sauce), and bluefin toro tartar with caviar (similar to the basic omakase – one of my favorites)!

Trio of Ceviches

Trio of Ceviches

Next was a kampachi sashimi, dressed with diced shallots, grated daikon and yuzu.

Kampachi Sashimi

Kampachi Sashimi

Another sashimi dish arrived next, containing seared salmon with micro greens, dill, and a light miso dressing.

Seared Salmon

Seared Salmon

Then came the sharkfin.   I don’t have a photo of this dish, but probably for the best as I’m sure this may trigger some comments that eating this promotes cruelty to sharks.  It was prepared in such a way that it looked like a semi-opaque, gelatinous noodle, served in a shallow dish coated with a similar looking sauce.  No real discernable flavor – just a unique texture.   Not something I’d ever intentionally order or crave to eat.

Next, we started moving to some more substantial eats.  Lobster, seared fois-gras, shiitake mushrooms, and white asparagus puree.  Superb!

Lobster, Fois-gras, shiitake, and white asparagus puree

Lobster, Fois-gras, shiitake, and white asparagus puree

Then came the wagyu beef, grilled asparagus and ponzu.  Believe it or not – I was on the fence with this dish.  Was it good –  definitely yes.   Does wagyu beef taste better than all other beef – this is where I have trouble answering yes…      However, the tender, fatty beef and ponzu sauce – was an absolute perfect match.

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef

Next, we were served a small bowl of asari miso (soup with baby clams), and an offering of nigiri sushi.  Compare this selection against the basic omakase, and it’s clear how they step-up to a completely different league – amaebi, escolar, giant clam, kampachi, o-toro (amazing).

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Finally – the dessert course.  A nice (not too sweet) selection of biscotti, and caramel flavored quenelles of what I thought was marscarpone.

Biscotti & caramel quenelles

Biscotti & caramel quenelles

Overall – the special omakase seemed as though it was a parade of expensive ingredients, for the sake of nothing more than to try and use them…  If I’m faced with the decision between the two options again – I am almost certain I would choose the basic omakase, as there wasn’t a single item that I didn’t like.

Las Vegas is now full of celebrity-chef endorsed restaurants – but if you win a few on the casino floor and have a couple hours to enjoy a nice meal – I’d suggest giving Nobu’s omakase a toss of the dice.

Nobu (Hard Rock) on Urbanspoon

Sakanaya – Shimoda, JP


Sakanaya
Bay Station 1F
1-1 Gaikaoka, Shimoda City
Shizuoka, Japan
+81 0558 23 0358

Having lived in various places when it comes to closer to home (Canada), please have often asked me which I prefer among my two latest stops… the coastal environment of Vancouver with its proximity to the ocean, or the majestic mountains that are a short drive away from a place like Calgary.  Put simply, am I a ‘water’ guy or a ‘land’ guy?

In response I’m apt to say, that as much as I enjoy outdoor hiking and think the Rockies are one of the most amazing natural surroundings any place on the planet, there is something about the beauty and calming sensation that comes with strolling along a beach with the waves crashing against the shoreline and the distinct scent of sea water that permeates the air.  Perhaps its also the Pisces in me, but that draw to the ocean always beckons me when I travel.  So whenever I come across a harbour with various boats as well as larger ocean liners, I always imagine what it would be like to travel the seas on a daily basis or over long periods of time.  Shimoda City is one such place that struck my fancy with its quaint little waterside marina and the following is a report on a simple meal I had there.

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Uosuke – Shimoda, JP


Uosuke
Shimoda 1-6-8, Shimoda City
Shizuoka, Japan
+81 (0)558 27 3330

As we enter our tenth month of existence here at Foodosophy, I’m reminded of one of the reasons why I accepted Foodosopher’s offer to contribute to the site (besides that fact that I was already experimenting with food photography) –  I’m always on the lookout for new and good places to eat.

Taking a look through the various search terms that bring our viewers to our humble pages, I’m struck by the fact that I must not alone in having this interest.  People are constantly seeking information and checking out commentary and reviews of places they intend to dine at, or perhaps at restaurants they recently have done so and are looking to compare experiences.

As good as online sources, published books, magazines, newspaper articles, etc. are at providing this kind of information, for me word of mouth plays a very strong role in deciding where I go to eat.  Not just anyone’s opinion mind you, it has to be from a trusted source or from people that I feel that I have a similar set of food preferences and tastes with.  Granted we won’t agree on everything, but for the most part we will, and its that comfort level that leads me to continue to rely on these sources.

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Manzo Japanese Restaurant (Itamae) – Richmond, BC


Manzo Japanese Restaurant (Itamae)
120-9020 Capstan Way
Richmond, BC
(604) 821 9834

Manzo Japanese Restaurant (Itamae) on Urbanspoon

What’s in a Name?   An oft repeated phrase, but one that always comes to mind when I recognize something familiar (or unfamiliar) in the facade of an establishment.  And with ethnic restaurants, the deployment of some investigative action or fact checking research usually comes into play as a result…

When I first laid eyes on the “Manzo” lettering on a random drive past this building, and then saw the “Japanese Restaurant” noted below it, I thought how odd.  Isn’t Manzo (and perhaps the occasional Foodosophy commenter of the same name can confirm) an Italian surname?  I know I’ve come across it being attached to pizzerias in other cities.

Then I remembered that its also an old (eg. in that no mother would use it anymore to name their child) male given name used in Japan.  In fact, history recalls that the first Japanese to be documented to have arrived in Canada was a man with that first name.

Another part of me wondered if they were using part of the word, “manzoku“, which would mean “satisfied”, and can be used to describe how one feels after having a wonderful meal.

Not knowing the ownership group involved, this is all speculation.

And whoever it is, its clear they were not adverse to spending a good chunk of change on the interior aesthetics.  I’d even suggest that they have taken some cues from the likes of the Japanese izakaya chains such as Tsuki No Shizuka or Wan, with their use of wood paneling, dim lighting, and overt displaying of large sake bottles.  Although it did not incorporate the high value and historically significant authentic elements of Kakurenbou, overall it was still visually appealing and contributed to the relaxing and quiet mood we had that evening.

As I lament the great izakaya that I’ve left behind in Tokyo, I must say that the best for kushiyaki (or more specifically yakitori) in Vancouver still remains, at least for me, Zakkushi on 4th.  But despite this, I was interested in trying the offerings here, and with a willing and able dinner partner, I selected some of my old standbys.

And that means, none of the usual Canadian-friendly yakitori suspects like negima (breast meat and green onions), tsukune (minced meat), or tebasaki (chicken wings).  Nope for me, a good yakitori-ya must have the likes of  gyutan (beef tongue), sunagimo (chicken gizzard), hatsu (chicken heart), and even nankotsu (chicken cartilage)!

A recap of some of these pictured selections would be that the beef tongue ($6.95) was nicely grilled, not overly so that it would entirely lose its chewy texture.  It could have used some more salt, though the dash of acid from the lemon did give it the required punch.

The hearts ($3.95) were a big disappointment.  To the unknowing eye, they might have slipped it by, but they should not have been sliced in half thus revealing the two chambers, and trying to spread things thinner than they should be.  The key part of these kinds of parts is the texture and without the plump morsel intact, it lost its luster.

Lastly, the sunagimo ($4.95) was simply okay, not a complete bastardization like the gizzards were, but again under seasoned.  Texture-wise it is a bit stringier than the hatsu, so its often a case of which you prefer – the more velvety smoothness of the hatsu, or the jaw-ache inducing “toughness” of the gizzards.

Shifting to the seafood portion of the menu, the Ayu Shioyaki ($6.95) was again properly grilled and the quality was reasonable.  Being a fish with less fat than other popular salt grilled fish, the meat texture held up through the cooking process, and the flavor suggested it was fresh.  I think we could have easily stomached a pair of these, I should have remembered that the Ayu is generally on the smaller size compared to Sanma (pike mackerel).

The highlight of our dinner (and the most expensive at $24.95) was easily the above pictured Aji Sashimi.  When we spotted it in the menu booklet, it just stood out.  I just don’t see it on many other menus around town, perhaps I am just looking in the wrong places?  Being a year-round fish that remains in season, I do hope Manzo continues to keep it on their menu, as I’ll definitely be back for this refreshing, light fish with its distinctive flavor.  Coupled with the freshly grated ginger and green onions, it really is fantastic.  For those who are unfamiliar with this, I suggest you try it out.

To our surprise, our server inquired if we wanted to have the bones of our Aji, deep fried.  With an elated smile on my face, I replied why not.  I think I was taken back by his suggestion, but really pleased that he offered to do this.  A few minutes later they came back, with a crispy coating and salted.   I know many of you might cringe at this, but the brittle bones that result are a great tasty treat.  No better way to get your calcium intake either. (SMILE)

To close our our meal, the traditional zousui (a chicken one, they had others) is basically a rice porridge that is made from a dashi broth, although in this case, there was something “off” about the flavor combination.  I felt it had a thicker consistency than it should have and the dashi didn’t taste right.  I’m not sure what their base broth is (perhaps they use it in their udon dishes, etc.) but I was not entirely happy with it.  Thus regrettably, the closer was a let down, but we were both quite full by this point.

With an extensive menu of typical small plates found in an izakaya, I think there are some others that I am interested in trying, and given the comfortable mood of this place, I think I will make an effort to come back.  If not just for the Aji.  Perhaps its my advancing age that is making me stray away from the boisterous izakaya scene that the likes of Guu provides, but I did find I welcomed the relative peace and quiet of Manzo.  But I do realize that the noise and confusion of an izakaya is also a key ingredient to making them so fun with friends.

Manzo Japanese Restaurant (Itamae) on Urbanspoon

Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant – Richmond, BC


Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant
130-135, 4751 Garden City Road
Richmond, BC
(604) 276 2628

Tsukiji on Urbanspoon

In some foreigner’s minds, the words TSUKIJI SHIJO – for those who are aware and/or can first of all even pronounce it correctly – conjures up the image of the immense market in the unglamorous, working class Tsukiji district of Tokyo that is considered the largest wholesale seafood market in the world.  I had the pleasure many years ago of spending two weeks here, working with some seafood buyers, specifically learning the ins-and-outs of the domestic and import (mainly from Taiwan) UNAGI market, and exploring the hidden back tunnels and hallways that make up the inner workings of the market.  Oh, and not to mention having the chance to eat some of the freshest sushi on a daily basis!

Thus I found it interesting that a restaurant had chosen to use this well known ‘brand’ as the formal name of their business.  Would most Canadians just think of it as some hard to read/pronounce Japanese word, perhaps believing it was a surname or a city name in Japan (given all those places that use such generic geographic references in their naming)?

To combat this or to maybe spread the knowledge/rationale, the proprietors of Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant have included an image of the tuna auction area of the market on their business card, and as well have provided a direct link on their website to the Wikipedia entry for TSUKIJI SHIJO.  What’s that worth, I’ll leave it up to you, the reader…

Half order 4 pcs. ($12.00) of KANPACHI.  With the general confusion that arises with this fish in Japan, with its strong physical resemblance to its close cousins such as BURI and HIRAMASA, I turned to a friend of mine who works as a buyer for a major player in the Japanese seafood business called Nippon Suisan (better known as Nissui) to get a layman’s explanation.

The return message was longer than I was expecting and too detailed in a marine biologist kind of way, but to sum, he told me that for KANPACHI, the best season is summer through late autumn, whereas BURI is more summer to autumn, and HIRAMASA is just summer.  He tells me that for most people, its really difficult to differentiate between this trio of fish, but that clues do lie in the body colour, the roundness of their bellies, the shape (sharpness) of their noses, and a structural variation in a small area around their eyes.

Not being an expert, but I did notice in the slice that I ate here, that there was an absence of a good layer of fat, that would suggest it was caught more in the warmer months.  I tend to find that this distinction of “seasonality of catch”, is more easier to pick up when the fish is eaten in a cooked form.  In Japanese, they often say “ABURA GA NOTTERU”, which literally translated could mean “the fat is on”, and is used to describe when the fish meat is at its seasonal best.

I did not get a chance to really review their seasonal seafood selections, but they do claim to make fresh choices available – perhaps a return visit will yield more.  Unfortunately, on this visit, we were very pressed for time, and thus no further sampling was conducted.

CHAWAN MUSHI ($4.50) – steamed egg custard with chicken & seafood.  As a child, this was a dish that I enjoyed immensely, easily eating three or four of them in a single setting.  So whenever I see it on a menu, I am more than happy to try it out, and I was pleasantly surprised with the Tsukiji version, as it had a tame mild flavoring throughout, without an overpowering salty base as often happens, and it was clear they had incorporated an authentic dashi element in its creation. The custard itself held together nicely with neither too soft or too dense a consistency and the other ingredients (eg. shiitake, chicken, etc.) was distributed generously inside.

CHIRASHI SUSHI ($18.50) – we later realized that almost the exact same components in this dish were in the one below (sushi): maguro, shake, amaebi, uni, tobiko, hokkigai, ika & tamago – aside from the California roll of course.

As I was the one dining on this – the DELUXE ASSORTED SUSHI ($19.50) – I’ll make my comments on the individual components.  But overall, as you can see from the image, some of the nigiri were very small.  The amaebi almost looked like it was a mini-version and the accompanying rice was just as narrow and tiny.  The ika followed the same downsized cut and was almost paper thin.  Of the rest, nothing was really special nor anything that I would say you couldn’t get at any run-of-the-mill place in Vancouver.  So for sushi, I’m thinking that its probably not their strong suit.

In closing, I would say that I did like the interior layout and total asthetic, as it had a nice earthy feel with all of the light colored wood used, and it was better quality that the same type of look that I found at Suga Sushi.

Tsukiji on Urbanspoon

Angel Seafoods – Vancouver, BC


Angel Seafoods
1345 Grant Street
Vancouver, BC V5L 2X7
(604) 254-2824

outside_angel

Whenever I have the hankering for homemade sushi and sashimi, I head on over to Angel Seafoods. Angel is located in an industrial zone between Clark Drive and Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. Sushi restaurants from all around Vancouver source much of their sashimi grade fish from Angel. I happen to live nearby so it is a regular stop for me.

freezer_3_angel

Angel is in an odd setting. It doesn’t look like a typical fish store. It is located in what looks more like a warehouse. Upon walking inside, you will encounter their working clerical office. It feels a little strange at first….it is as if someone grafted a grocery store onto an insurance company office.

freezer4_angel

Look to your left and you will find a long room of chest freezers containing a boggling assortment of Japanese seafood – sashimi grade fish, kasu (sake lees) marinated fish, roe, dried seafoods of all sorts. They also stock rice, and other sundries. At the front desk is a list of fresh items – often including oysters and fresh uni (sea urchin roe)…make sure to ask for what’s fresh in the back. It changes nearly daily.

freezer1_angel

The prices are quite reasonable – definitely lower than at other sources of frozen sashimi like T&T, the Chinese supermarket and Fujiya, the Japanese grocery just down the road.  Today I picked up an assortment of fish for tomorrow night’s family sushi night. We are having Yellow Tail, Albacore, Salmon, and  Toro. This little haul set me back about $25CAD….not bad. I just need to make sure my knife is sharp.

the_haul_angel

Bakurou – Tokyo, JPN


[As with all of our posts, please click on any image for an enlarged view]

Bakurou Ebisu
1-7-12 West Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan 〒150-0021
Monday~Friday: 6:00pm to 4:00am
Saturday: 6:00pm to 11:30pm
Closed Sundays and Holidays

Yes indeed, relatives of Mr. Ed and Black Beauty are on the menu!

Visiting some old friends in Tokyo late last month, we’ve continued our little game of going out to some obscure restaurant serving some very rare cuisine – partly just to see if they can shock me, and also just to change things up from our usual pattern of getting full and drunk at one of the many amazing izakaya that exist in this capital city. Horsemeat is still eaten in some households in places such as Akita prefecture, Aomori prefecture where historically and culturally horsemeat consumption was strong, but in the Kanto region where Tokyo is, it is not a common dish at all. Bakurou aims to change this and make it better known in this part of the country.

Bakurou, which opened for business in December 2007 and is located in the trendy neighborhood of Ebisu, in the southwest section of Tokyo. This is actually the second outlet, with the first located in Kanda, Tokyo. The west side of the main train station has many narrow streets filled with all sorts of restaurants and drinking spots, and Bakurou was slightly off the beaten path and was in a retro-looking wooden building with plenty of character. Inside, it was designed to represent a family home in the countryside, with the first floor having table seating and a steep narrow staircase leading to the second floor set aside for floor seating, with the exception of one table. In total, the whole place could handle 40 customers at once. As expected, a very homey setup, and with a packed house on this night, it was somewhat noisy but not overly so, in fact I think our table was the loudest of the bunch! I am sure the multiple glasses of shochu didn’t help – again, an excellent selection of 28 choices from around the country.

Now when it comes to horsemeat, only the freshest will do and they only serve what was brought in that day. This place has this down pat, and has their own supply chain from all over Japan, and a portion of their stock even comes from Canada too! (I know, many Canadian are probably unaware of the unpublicized ranches where horses are raised for meat consumption – in direct contrast to the image of cowboys and their farm working partners). They use only the highest grade (A5 in Japan) for the sashimi dishes, and the entire menu consisted of seventy items. As an aside, they also had an unannouced menu of even more exotic portions of horsemeat’s less popular cuts – such as the horse heart that we had! The place took pride in being able to serve this cuisine at a much lower price than other places in the city, with average take per person coming in the 7,000~8,000 yen range; whereas here, you could get the same meal for 4,000~4,500 yen.

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