Kinda funny…In preparation of writing this review I was looking back at Reid's review of Mr. Frypan
so I didn't regurgitate anything he already might have mentioned about the place and I just realized that he and I ordered almost the same thing and even our outside shot of the place is almost the exact same. Great minds think alike! Well anyways, on to the review.
The other week I had jury duty which brought me to downtown and thus I was excited that I would be able to enjoy my lunches on those days at many of the great eateries of downtown. The first day I chose Mr. Frypan. I heard about Mr. Frypan many years ago and have wanted to try it since. But generally I don’t like going to downtown and trying to find parking just to go to one place. So now it was finally my chance to eat there. I made friends with a couple jurors and we headed down there on our lunch break. Considering it was 1:00PM it was pretty crowded.
With all the items on the menu I had a hard time choosing. You know how that goes, especially when you are HUNGRY!
Well I ended up ordering the #16 which is the menchi katsu curry (hamburger) and a side piece of croquette.
I was a bit disappointed. The menchi katsu was not fresh. The breading was soggy and the filling didn’t taste quite that fresh. Although right after I ordered, the two juror friends, who ordered the exact same thing as me, got a fresh batch of menchi katsu. The curry itself was a bit bland although I must say that it had that homemade feel to it. I think I just ate there on an ‘off’ day. I can’t recommend this place yet, until I try it again. Although I don’t know when I will be revisiting. There are many other places that have pretty darn good Japanese style katsu and aren’t in downtown. Although I can’t think of one that has menchi katsu which is my favorite.
By the way, on that first day I was chosen to be on the jury and the trial lasted only one day. So that only left me with two places to choose from in downtown for lunch. Mr. Frypan is one and I am ashamed to say where I ate on the second day....HAH
Menchanko-Tei Waikiki (めんちゃんこ亭)
Last weekend a bunch of my friends and I visited Menchanko-Tei
on the word of Alyyygator saying that I needed to try the Kikuzo ramen there. A couple of my friends had the Kikuzo ramen, two had the Menchanko, two others had the Miso Menchanko and I had the Hakata ramen.
I enjoyed the Hakata broth very much. I have tried the Hakata ramen at Ippudo @ Yokohama Eki
and I think that the broth at Ippudo is slightly richer. Also Ippudo has fresh garlic cloves that you can grate into your ramen. Like when I go to Taishoken, I love to have a lot of garlic in my broth when I eat ramen. If Menchanko had garlic as a condiment it would be a nice addition. The noodles were your typical Hakata style noodles, thin, but I wish they were a bit more firm. I guess since I like Taishoken’s
noodles so much I compare all to it. Even though it might not be how traditional Hakata is prepared I would rather have Taishoken’s noodles in this and many other broths that I have enjoyed. The aji tsuke tamago was good. The chashu doesn’t meet up to the melt in your mouth goodness of Yotteko-ya’s
I tried the soup and noodles from my friend’s order of Kikuzo. I am not a big shoyu based broth guy and thus I didn’t get too excited by the Kikuzo. The noodles on the other hand were pretty good. I wouldn’t have minded if my Hakata had the noodles used in the Kikuzo ramen.
I didn’t get to try any of the Menchanko's my friends ordered so I can’t comment about them. One of the two Menchanko's above is the miso one but I can't tell which. So I'll leave it up to you to figure it out.
I would recommend checking this place out. I want to go back again during dinner hours, since many of their items weren’t served during the lunch hours when we went. Some of the items I would like to order next time are the Yuba Motsu Nabe (湯葉牛もつ鍋; Tofu Curd and Beed Tripe hot pot) and the Buta Kaku-ni (豚の角煮; Simmered Pork Cubes)
Ponpoko is an izakaya in the town where many of my family live. I first went there a few years ago and have been going every time I visit Japan since then. I like it because of its proximity, atmosphere and of course, food. It is a couple blocks away from my aunty and uncle’s house where I usually stay and because of this proximity I can eat and drink until my heart’s content and not have to worry about how I am getting home.
For those that don’t know what an izakaya is check out this
thread @ egullet.org.
The following pictures are what my friend's and I had during two visits to Ponpoko during our trip in January.
Saba Sashimi (鯖刺身; Mackerel), Aji Sashimi - Ikezukuri (鯵刺身活け作り; Horse Mackerel),
Shirako (白子; Sperm Sac), Shirako (白子; Sperm Sac),
Kujira Tatsuta Age (くじら竜田揚; Fried Whale), Kujira Sashimi (くじら刺身; Whale),
Maguro No Butsu Kiri (鮪のぶつ切; Block Cut Tuna), Ponpoko Kohada Special (ぽんぽ こ小鰭 スペシャル; Gizzard Shad),
Ponpoko Sushi Special (ぽんぽこ 寿司 スペシャル), Karei Karaage (鰈空揚; Fried Flounder),
Fugu Sashimi (河豚刺身; Blowfish), Liver Sashimi (レバー刺身; Beef),
Ama Ebi (甘海老; Sweet Shrimp), Ika No Shiokara (イカの塩辛; Squid),
and Basashi (馬刺; Horse).
Everything we had was good except for the basashi. I have had fresh basashi and it is very good. The basashi we had was of the frozen type and was not as good. This was my first time having shirako. I have always seen it on shows like Burari or Iitabi but didn't try it until this year. It is pretty good. Not as rich as I thought it was going to be. Also I don't know what type of fish this shirako was from.
Ponpoko also has your usual assortment of shochu cocktails, beers, and sake.
If you are ever in the Kanazawa-Hakkei area, check this place out. I am sure you’ll like it. And be sure to go early because it fills up fast. The place seats approximately 23.
Natto (納豆) Spaghetti
I think I might have a bit of time this week to get some posts up. This is a straggler post from back before I went to Japan. Being that I love natto so much it is only fitting that I have at least one natto post. So here it goes!
I made natto spaghetti for my friend and me waaaay back at the beginning of the year. It is really simple to make. Here is the list of ingredients:
2 "quarters" dry spaghetti
1 package natto
6 strips bacon
1/8 Maui onion
Freshly ground black pepper
To start off either buy the type of natto that is already chopped up or chop it up your self. Then mix in the mustard and tare (sauce) that comes with it. Place on the side.
Cut up the bacon into ½” pieces and dice up the onion. Toss both in to a fry pan and cook until the bacon is browned. Drain all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat.
Cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain the spaghetti and incorporate it well with the bacon, bacon fat and onion. You can season it with salt and pepper at this time. Plate the spaghetti with the natto placed in the center. You can choose to garnish the natto with many of the typical garnishes that go with natto. Some of these garnishes include a raw egg yolk, negi (green onion) and katsuo-bushi (shaved dried bonito). In my pictures I didn’t garnish it with anything. Making this fed my craving for Pietro’s
Natto and Crispy Bacon Spaghetti.