This long-established izakaya mini-chain serves excellent Kyushu cuisine and a good assortment of sake and shochu from the southern island. Especially recommended are the Kagoshima-style tonkotsu (pork and daikon stewed in shochu) and a well-balanced Nagasaki-style sara-udon with vegetables and meat served over crisp fried noodles.
Other local favorites are the mini-gyoza (twenty pork dumplings served in an iron pan), karashi renkon (lotus root stuffed with spicy mustard), satsuma-age (deep-fried fishcakes) and charcoal-grilled chicken. There are ample seasonal fish and vegetable dishes, and delicacies like horsemeat sashimi.
It's unusual to see much Kyushu sake in Tokyo, since Kyushu pubs tend to specialize in shochu, but the menu here includes eight nicely chosen local sakes from around the island, including a fruity Wakaran daiginjo from Saga (our favorite) and a sturdy extra-dry Zuiyo honjozoshu from Kumamoto.
The basement dining room is an old-fashioned izakaya-style setup, with a small counter, tables and lots of tatami seating. The late-night hours are convenient (they stay open to 3am on weeknights), and the atmosphere is lively, with a crowd ranging from after-work parties early in the evening to couples and groups of friends as the night wears on. Budget around Y4000-5000 for dinner and drinks.
by Robb Satterwhite