Otafuku in Asakusa has been serving oden for almost 100 years. It’s a great little spot for fishcakes stewed in a delicate seafood broth as well as seafood and other izakaya fare. I came recently with my friend, the food writer and reporter, Steve Dolinsky. Steve is originally from Minnesota and now lives in Chicago with his beautiful family. Steve was in Tokyo and we met in Kappabashi and did the short walk to Otafuku for dinner and an interview for his new show, The Feed Podcast, with chef Rick Bayless.
The menu at Otafuku is written in this beautiful Japanese calligraphy on the wall. But, we picked what we waned by just looking into the large, steaming bath behind the counter.
Our first order was zenmai (reminiscent of ferns), shimeji mushrooms, atsu-agé (thick, deep-fried) tofu, and deep-fried Satsuma-agé fish cakes.
Followed by fukubukuro (deep-fried tofu packets stuffed with mochi), kombu (kelp), and cabbage stuffed with ground meat.
Note the awesome chopstick rest, also called otafuku.
A meal in winter would not be complete without ankimo, monkfish liver, often called foie gras of the sea.
The hand-written menu at our counter seats. Gorgeous calligraphy.
Sashimi of kanburi (winter yellowtail). So tender it melts in your mouth.
My husband loves this fish so much we went to the most famous port in Himi, Toyama, on our honeymoon to eat this. Good stuff.
And, the collar of kanburi, salted and grilled. Garnished with pickled ginger and freshly grated daikon with soy sauce.
While most people associate oden with winter, this food is good all-year long. This night most of the customers seemed to be businessmen, although there was one young couple at the counter with us. Lots of groups coming in and there is table seating in the back, but it is most fun to sit at the counter and watch the chef manage the stewing pot. We make oden at home in the winter a few times a year, but we never make the variety of ingredients served at Otafuku. We had beer and a warm sake, both which went well with the menu. It’s a jovial restaurant filled with locals and one of the most famous restaurants in Tokyo serving oden.
Taito-ku, Senzoku 1-16-2
Some of my other favorites in Asakusa in this Metropolis piece.