Thursday, January 29, 2015

Izakaya Dinner at Kuimonoya

Restaurant entrance
In the military community a hail and farewell is held to say goodbye to one and welcome another and sometimes it’s done for spouses too. Last week a group of wives from Bob’s new command met for dinner at Kuimonoya Wan on Blue Street in Yokosuka for a hail and farewell. It’s on the 7th floor of a pachinko parlor and The Lockup is in the same lobby. 

Shoe storage
It's an Izakaya restaurant which is quite common here. They're known for food and more so for drinks after work. I suppose they could be compared to a pub in the U.K. 

When we walked in we had to take our shoes off and store them in a locker. The key was a wood block about the size of my iPhone 4s. Since we were shoeless the restaurant provided sandals at the entrance to the ladies room. At that moment I was happy to be wearing socks, and not ugly ones or a pair with holes! I've been to restaurants where shoes had to be removed and others that didn't require it. It was pouring that night and we were still living out of our suitcases, so sneakers or ballet flats were my two options. 

Restroom shoes
I was talking to one of the ladies sitting across from me about Japan, how much we love it (she does too!) and the unique things we missed about it when we left in 2010. She mentioned the mouthwash dispenser mounted on the wall in the restroom. That was a first for me...I don't remember seeing that before. Naturally I snapped a picture of it and the shoes on the floor (with my pretty socks).  

The food was excellent. We ordered family style and some of us ordered our own dishes. I had sweet potatoes gnocchi and fried soft shell crab. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what was on the plate. The entire crab was there and in tact. We ate and all. One of the Japanese ladies with us said the shell is very healthy. I took her word for it as I ate one after the other. 

We were in a private room with sliding doors and a button on the wall to call the wait staff. As we ordered he entered it into something handheld that looked like a cell phone and that sent the order to the kitchen. The 20 or so of us were seated at floor level and our legs were under the table in a sunk-in area.

Fresh squeezed
I stuck with water for the evening but next time will order a sour. It's a Japanese drink of shochu (Japanese vodka), soda (seltzer?) and fruit. Someone sitting across from me ordered a grapefruit one and to my surprise came the drink, a side of grapefruit and a juicer! I think it's a fresh Chuhai to be honest but didn't think to ask. I'm not sure of other fruit options on the menu, but next time I'm there, or at another Izakaya, I'll pay more attention to the beverage menu. 

Their menu was in Japanese and English. I'm anxious to go back to try more dishes!

Sweet potato gnocchi w/ gorgonzola
Oishii (delicious) crab