Yakisoba Temple

Jimbocho’s Mikasa is a temple to yakisoba, even the noodles are made from scratch here. Yakisoba is a humble dish. Noodles stir-fried with vegetables and a protein and seasoned with a sauce or salt and dusted with aonori, an aromatic sea vegetable. It’s a messy dish and is not photogenic, but would win a congeniality contest as everyone seems to love yakisoba.

There is often a line at Mikasa, no matter the time. Weekends can have up to 50 people in line when the shop opens. It’s a cheap meal, 700 JPY, considering the handmade noodles are made with Hokkaido wheat. Each dish is made to order, starting with boiling the noodles. Boiling the fresh noodles allows them to keep a chewy texture.  Just order the spicy sauce or salt and the size, an oomori extra portion of noodles is free.All of the sauces used are made in-house. For an additional 150 JPY you can add some squid and shrimp.

The owner, Nakata-san, realized that there were many udon and ramen shops in Tokyo, but that yakisoba specialty shops were lacking. His nickname is Jimbocho yakisoba god, kami-yakisoba, which is a nice play on kanji considering the area is in Jimbocho, using the same character for “god”. 神保町の神やきそば。

Mikasa is a sliver of a restaurant. Be sure to check out the space behind the counter where the chefs are. Tiny. The space for the customers is not much bigger. Imagine squeezing behind these folks to get to your seat. I don’t think this would pass any fire code in the US.

Note only 120 portions are made each day.

Order from a vending machine in the front of the shop. Below is some Japanese to help.

ソース焼きそば (so-su yakisoba) sauce yakisoba

塩焼きそば (shio yakisoba) salt yakisoba

イカ・エビトッピング (ika/ebi topping) squid and shrimp topping

大盛り (oomori) large portion

小盛り (komori) small portion

Jimbocho Yakisoba Mikasa 神保町やきそばみかさ

Chiyoda-ku, Jimbocho 2-24-3

千代田区神田神保町2-24-3

http://mikasain.com/

Manseibashi Hofbackerei Edegger-Tax

Tokyoites have yet another European bakery to add to a rich list that includes Viron, Maison Kayser, Peck (exclusively at Takashimaya), and Gontran Cherrier. What makes this new shop unique is that I believe it is the first bakery in Tokyo from Austria. For German bakeries there is Linde in Kichijoji. (Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Honcho 1-11-27).

Hofbakerei Edegger-Tax is at the Manseibashi mall conveniently located between Kanda, Akihabara, and Ochanomizu. It is one of Austria’s oldest bakeries (1569), and fills a gap in the city for these European breads. Linde is a great shop, but Kichijoji is a hike out of the city center.

The shop opens at 8:30 a.m. on weekdays, and 11:00 a.m. on weekends. There is a lovely selection of bread, sandwiches, including open-faced sandwiches, and pastries. I’ve been to the original shop in Graz, Austria, and at the time, the most impressive memory was the colorful selection of open-faced sandwiches.

Hofbakerei Edegger-Tax

Chiyoda-ku, Kanda-Sudacho 1-25-4, Maach ecute Kanda Manseibashi

http://www.edegger-tax.jp/

 

 

Best Cafe for Train Fans – N3331

N3331

N3331

Did you know that in the heart of Tokyo there is a cafe that sits on the train tracks? It is actually located in between the inbound and outbound lines of the Chuo line. The station is just between Ochanomizu and Kanda. It is also a short walk from Akihabara station. Here is the view from the window. We are just a few feet from the trains whizzing by.

Cafe is on the train tracks

Cafe on the train tracks

Here is the view from our seat looking as two Chuo trains pass us.

The cafe opens at 11 a.m. We came early and were the first in line, but by about 10:45 a.m. there were about a dozen waiting to get in on a weekend.

We ordered a sandwich and a curry. Both were terrible. The lettuce on the sandwich was so wilty, it surely was made the day before. The 7-11 sandwiches have fresher lettuce. As for the curry, I’ve had better curry from a pack. Bummer as the cafe itself is so sweet. When we go back I am just going to have something to drink. We did order some ice cream which was good. But, don’t come for the food. Sad as this is such a great dining city. It is a shock to come across food so awful. Come for the view and the experience.

Outdoor seating at N3331

Outdoor seating at N3331

There is indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating has the best views of the trains coming and going. Note that there is NOT a roof over you, so don’t go when it is raining. And, note that it is very hot out there under the sun. We will go back, but I will wait until autumn. You do hear the trains as they pass by.

Ichiro Whiky

Ichiro Whiky

If you like whisky, they have a great selection of Ichiro whisky. I should have ordered a glass after the shock of the food.

The station is the old Manseibashi station. Underneath the tracks there are several great little shops and restaurants. Get your food down here. The cafe is only good for experiencing the train. But, if you are a train fan, or with kids, it is pretty awesome to be on the tracks with trains passing by just in front of you.

There is a part of the cafe that is covered and air-conditioned, but it opens onto the open-air cafe so is not too cool. I will definitely be back, but most likely after the weather cools down.

www.maach-ecute.jp/shop.html

N3331

東京都千代田区神田須田町1丁目25番地4

Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Sudacho 1-25-4

n3331.com

A good access map:

www.maach-ecute.jp/access.html

Butcher Brothers in Kanda and Nihonbashi

Butcher's Brothers

Butcher’s Steak Plate 肉屋のステーキプレート

Craving a hearty lunch after an early morning tour to Tsukiji Market and depachika, I stopped by Butcher Brothers in Kanda. I had stopped by last week but came right during the lunch hour rush, noon in Japan, and there was a line out the door. So was thrilled when I opened the door and was warmly greeted. It’s a boisterous restaurant, lots of welcoming customers, repeating orders, and thanking customers. All the more noisier if you are at the counter overlooking the open kitchen

The lunch menu is very simple, the steak plate (900 JPY, photo above), roast pork (800 JPY), and a curry (500 JPY). The steak plate was a lot of food. I asked for a smaller portion of rice and am glad I did. The steak was medium rare, just as I like it. A meaty piece, not the tender wagyū that is prevalent throughout the city. Americans will feel back at home with this big cut of meat that is hot off of the grill. My neighbor had the pork and it looked good. Had I been in back in New York City I would have started up a conversation with him, but I didn’t. The curry also looked good so I have two more reasons to come back.

Image

My seat was at the counter and as a chef it is always fun to see the action in the kitchen. The food was great, and at this price, one can’t complain. I wish the meat was seasoned with a bit more salt. And, it is too bad that the salad isn’t tossed with the dressing in a bowl and then served. But, that is not keeping me from coming back. The wine list is very affordably priced and the dinner menu is a big one, and it makes sense to come back with a group of friends, order a few bottles of wine and share several different plates. Note, lunch is Monday – Friday only.

Butcher Brothers2

On a recent visit I had the grilled pork plate, a bargain at 850 JPY. It is a thick cut of pork, my cut had a rich amount of fat as well. It was well seasoned and I prefer it to the steak plate and will be back for this dish. This day I was seated at the counter, at the same spot I sat at last time. I was the only woman at the counter. My counter mates included two men working for a delivery company, both who ordered extra-large portions of rice, which can be had for no extra charge.

Butcher Brothers3

One option is to add curry to your rice plate for an additional 50 JPY. Do it. It is a smoky curry that is unlike any curry I have had in my years in Tokyo. The rice serving is very generous, geared towards the area salarymen which make up most of the diners at lunchtime. This portion is a half size and I couldn’t even finish this.

Be sure to grab a complimentary cup of coffee-to-go on your way out the door. Smart idea of the restaurant to include coffee with lunch, but only as take-away.

Butcher Brothers

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi-Hongokucho 4-5-10

03-6225-2936

Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:00-11:30 p.m.

Sat. 4-11:30 p.m.

closed Sunday and holidays

Suito Pozu Gyoza

suito1

Gyōza is to me the perfect dumpling. Pork and cabbage stuffed into a wrapper then cooked until the crust is crispy while the filling remains juicy. I’ve started many mornings with gyōza for breakfast. While many restaurants serve gyōza as a side dish, it’s nice to know there are some places where it’s the main dish. Suito Pozu has been serving gyōza since 1955.suito2

I love how these are wrapped. It’s how I do it when I am in a rush to get dinner on the table. Leave two ends open and just seal it shut. You just need to be careful when cooking it, but the final results are still delicious.suito3It’s a popular restaurant and very small, only 24 seats. There was a line of about five people just before it opened for lunch recently. After the doors opened it was full within about ten minutes.

Service is fast and it’s a quick meal. It’s a good thing that it was a fast meal as the air-conditioner is on the fritz and it was very hot in the restaurant. No garlic in the gyōza if you come during the workday. The only thing I didn’t like was that it doesn’t have rayū chili oil, but only chili powder. I’d like to come back in the evening when the gyōza is also steamed.

Suito Pozu

Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Jimbocho 1-13-2

03-3295-4084

closed Monday and Sunday

Kanda Matsuya Soba 神田まつや

Kanda Matsuya

Kanda Matsuya

Kanda Matsuya Mori Soba

Kanda Matsuya Mori Soba

Kanda Matsuya Tempura Soba

Kanda Matsuya Tempura Soba

Kanda Matsuya 神田まつや

Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Jimbocho 1-13 千代田区神田神保町1-13

Phone: 03-3251-1556

11:00 – 20:00 Monday – Friday

11:00 – 19:00 Saturday and holidays

closed Sundays

http://www.kanda-matsuya.jp/p01.htm

Kanda Matsuya opened their doors in 1884. The soba is made from 5 parts buckwheat flour to 1 part flour. The dipping sauce is “karame” or on the dry side (versus being sweet). A popular dish here is the goma soba which is served with a a sesame dipping sauce. Other recommended dishes are the mori soba, tempura soba (both pictured here), and kake soba (hot noodles).

Tokyo Cheap Eats – Kanda Yabu Soba

Yabu Soba

Yabu Soba

UPDATE: Kanda Yabu Soba caught on fire on February 19, 2013. 40 customers and employees were in the restaurant during dinner service when the fire was noticed. Everyone was safely evacuated. A spokesperson for Kanda Yabu Soba has said on NHK news the following day that the restaurant hopes to reopen in six months.

If you are to visit only one soba shop in Tokyo, then it should be Yabu Soba in Kanda. Soba aficionados from around the country trek to this fifth generation shop that opened in 1880. Enter through a compact garden and step back in time in this old building. The room is traditional Japanese with dark colored wood and paper-covered lights. Listen carefully and you can hear the girl behind the cash register sing out each order to the kitchen. This is the only place in Japan that I have seen this done. The elderly kimono clad waitresses efficiently manage the busy dining room. If you are hungry the diverse menu allows you to order a few dishes prior to closing the meal with noodles, like sashimi yuba, tempura, and grilled nori. There is also a full menu of soba, both hot and cold.

Seiro Soba

Seiro Soba

Kanda Yabu Soba かんだやぶそば

Chiyoda-ku, Awajicho 2-10 千代田区淡路町2-10

Tel. 03-3251-0287

11:30 – 19:30

some holidays in January and August

www.yabusoba.net (Japanese)

www.norenkai.net/english/shop/yabusoba/index.html (English)