Kofu: Izakaya
Kosaku (Kofu: Izakaya)
Open 11am-10pm daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

This down-to-earth izakaya is best known for their hoto - flat udon noodles served with pumpkin and other vegetables in a buttery miso-based broth. While you can find hoto noodles in a few spots in Tokyo, it really doesn't compare to the flavors you'll find in its home base of Yamanashi - the broth is richer and tastier, and the local vegetables are fresher and more plentiful. Kosaku offers a choice of 14 different versions of hoto, along with other drink-friendly izakaya fare.

The hoto here comes in a very hot iron cauldron, and the rich pork-flavored broth is filled with big chunks of kabocha (pumpkin), hakusai, carrots, sansai (mountain vegetables), and snow peas. Portions are large. Menu options include pork, beef, duck, turtle, mushroom, oyster, wild boar and bear. The bear hoto is a novel choice, and while it does have an interesting, gamey flavor, the meat itself is fatty and tough - the duck and wild boar are better suited to this dish.

Other interesting menu choices include the venison sashimi (served freshly defrosted, so let it thaw out awhile at your table) and the horsemeat sushi. This features three different cuts of horsemeat, served with ginger and garlic, and while the meat is tasty it can be on the tough side. Drinks include a couple of local sakes and local Yamanashi wines by the glass. The atmosphere is typical salaryman izakaya, with old-fashioned farmhouse decor and a TV set going in the background. The slightly more touristy main branch is on the south side of the station, and eight more branches are scattered around Yamanashi Prefecture.

by Robb Satterwhite
Kofu City, Kitaguchi 1-4-11.
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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended