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Friday, November 30, 2012

SAKURADAI: Akimoto-Ya Yakiton... wow... what a friendly smile.

A good friend of mine had always mentioned this little Yakitori/Yakiton spot in Sakuradai and on a chilly Friday evening we arrived at an early 5:15pm to see the shop nearly half full (opens at 5pm).

We peeked in to see if they had a spot for 2 and Miura-san (the chef) with his stern look said the counter was open... little did I know that this serious face would soon turn to all smiles during our 2 hours there.

The variety! And so incredibly reasonable... starts at 100yen  per stick.

Left most of the ordering up to Kenta.  This is a must... motsu nikomi?  Extremely tender pieces of intestines, white radish, seasoned egg and other things.

The absolute best thing to do is leave it up to your Japanese friend to order... I guess with age I tend to order what I know and never explore too often.

Octopus was great.

Liver and something

Oh man... one of the best.  Miso seasoned stick of beef?  

Japanese guys love this cabbage... with a spicy miso dip.

If they got it I order it... Bon-Jiri (Chicken Butt).  So soft and tender...

Atsukan... hot sake.

Seasonal little beans that come from a yellowing tree this time of year.

Baked onigiri usually ordered to close out the night.

And this is Miura-san.  As soon as the regulars started coming in... key word you will hear is "Mai-dou" (greeting used for regulars).  And he just lit up and smiled the entire evening.

Customers were pouring Miura-san beer~.  A very very friendly atmosphere.

And meet Suzuki-san aka "Su-San".  Big jolly fellow plopped himself right next to me and an hour into dinner we started chatting away.  He's born and raised in Sakuradai.

Kenta gave it a rave review as he is also a die hard foodie.  Atmosphere was cozy, service was spot on, food was Excellent, customers so eager to chat and now I know why people fill this spot all night long... Its Chef Miura-sans charm.  We went at 5pm and it got quite crowded by 6pm but seems there is a second wave of customers around 7:30pm when people start getting off work.  

Shop: Akimoto-Ya Sakuradai Branch
Address J: 東京都練馬区桜台1-4-7
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Sakuradai 1-4-7

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

SHIBUYA: (REVISITED) UraCona Pizzeria your female staff has gone downhill... how can this be?

Since my very first visit to Ura-Cona I have always raved about it to my friends and even taken a few dates there... I mean the service and quality of pizza WAS dead on the best of all the Cona's in Tokyo.  So on this day my buddy Yas (Japanese guy) had some special guests from Hawaii and he wanted to hit the place up. 

We entered about 6:45pm and picked out a bottle of wine... If you enter before 7pm you can get the 1,000yen special (drink, appetizer, pizza and no entrance charge). Yas and I went with this deal and the...

Pâté arrived within minutes of our order... 

... and so 20 30 40 minutes pass and the pizza we ordered failed to arrive.  At the time there were only 2 couples in the shop and it normally takes about 2-3 minutes to make one of these thin crust pizza's.

So asked one of the waitresses if she could check on the pizza for us... no smile, no confirmation with the chef, just full of attitude responding that we had to wait our turn... hold up... then another 10 minutes pass and we ask again... more attitude.  This type of girl is someone you rarely find in any Japanese restaurant... just extremely negative.  Her hands were badly dry with cracks covered in band-aids.  I can only assume things have not gone well for her in general.  OK! Thats my honest rant!

Yas ordered the Tuna salad... avoid this... who wants to eat canned tuna on a bed of salad?

Overall the female staff this night was just not good... the Pizza's lacked any kind of volume on their topping and the appearance/quality vs my other visits was mediocre at best.

I can no longer say that this is my Favorite branch of the Cona Pizzeria franchise... the new champ goes to Ikebukuro Cona with amazing service and top notch pizza's that once resided at UraCona.  Ooohhh... as I write this I am so sad... the current female staff just gets me down...  Anyways!  Perhaps in few months time the part-timer's will rotate out and this review will change.  Aloha!

Shop: Ura Cona Shibuya
Address J: 東京都渋谷区円山町7-7 川路ビル 1F
Address E:  Tokyo, Shibuya-lu, Maruyama-Cho 7-7

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NERIMA: Pizza and Spirits "KamaZo" filled with housewives chattering about.

A very random craving for pizza and my check led me to the #3 ranked spot in Nerima.

Today's daily pizza special topped with mozzeralla, Grana Padano cheese, veggies, anchovies and tomato sauce for 880yen.

Opted for the 680yen Margherita Pizza "B set +300yen" with salad, drink and a dessert. 

Nice healthy variety of veggies but the dressing was extremely salty.

Apple Juice... 

And there it is! My Margherita Pizza~. 

A lot more tomato sauce topping... much more than most other spots.

The crust stayed soft and chewy til the end. 

When I saw this I thought... oh no more pizza bread?  I just finished a whole pizza and the thought of consuming more crust topped with whipped cream and a heavy layer of maple syrup made me regret ordering this small dessert special.  Don't get this people!

Overall the male Pizza owner&chef with smile-less service and had no charisma unlike several other shops I've visited from FREY's in Roppongi to FERMATA in Jiyugaoka.  But for 980yen it was a solid meal as I was engulfed in chatter from middle aged housewives enjoying the afternoon while their husband were hard at work.  This would probably be a nice little date spot with the subtle Italian BGM in the background.  Oh, the waitress was extremely quick and super polite never forgetting to smile.

And if you are a Mercedes fan just walk down a block to check out some modified S series at Y's

Shop: KamaZo Pizzeria
Address J: 東京都練馬区豊玉北5-5-4
Address E:  Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Toyotama Kita 5-5-4

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