Mondo: Mitsukoshimae
Mitsukoshimae / Japanese regional
Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-5-3.
Open 11am-2:30, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

You'll find exceptionally good regional cuisine from Shimane Prefecture and very reasonable prices at this old-fashioned izakaya. The menu showcases fish and seafood flown in from the region as well as local-style dishes prepared from heirloom breeds of pork and chicken. There's also a good selection of Shimane craft sake, with a friendly staff who are happy to advise you on your selection.

As with many good izakaya, the sashimi platter of the day is an excellent place to start; here it's served with wasabi root that you grate yourself and three varieties of soy sauce. Other quick-to-arrive dishes for the hungry diner include the colorful vegetable and crabmeat salad, and the very tasty cold grilled Mochibuta pork in sesame dressing, served salad-style with greens and lots of raw onions. Cucumber with miso dip is served with a rather sweet, very chunky miso that's studded with unblended bits of bean - a refreshing variation on this classic izakaya dish.

The grilled chicken is more of a production number - Daisen-dori (a flavorful heirloom breed) seasoned with spicy yuzu-kosho and cooked over a portable grill right at your table. The results are flavorful and very tender - adjectives that could also describe the garlicky ika-geso kara-age (deep-fried squid tentacles). Another highlight is the satsuma-age (fritters) made from flying fish - not the least bit oily, but well balanced and pleasantly crunchy with various vegetable bits mixed into the batter.

The sake list features twelve brands from small craft breweries, most priced in the Y800 per glass range. (If you order 1-go it comes in a glass, while 2-go servings come in a tokkuri to serve the table.) More adventurous drinkers may wish to try the Shimane-ken wine - red and white are each Y630 per glass. The restaurant is affiliated with the Shimane-ken Prefectural antenna shop next door, which helps explain the abundance of freshly imported ingredients and the very reasonable prices. Budget around Y3500-4500 per person for ample food and drink; party plans are also available.

by Robb Satterwhite
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