Friday, November 30, 2007

Mexican Party Place

Name: Zona Rosa
Neighborhood: Ebisu
Style: Mexican

We had a party for all the foreign staff at work last Wednesday to celebrate the arrival of our two newest members, Ilija and Aasa. After trying unsuccessfully to arrange a trip to Ushi-tora,
we got a recommendation for this Mexican-style izakaya in Ebisu. It's very close to the East exit from Ebisu station.

While I can't say that their Mexican food will have any North American restaurants worried, Zona Rosa is a pretty good choice for an evening of fun. We got the nomihoudai / のみほうだい / 飲み放題 / all-you-can-drink along with a pre-set course for 4000円, which pretty much kept the drinks and food coming for a good two hours. Unlike a lot of places, there's actually a good selection of cocktails among the nomihoudai list so peoplel were trying all sort of Campari and Cassis options.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nabe + Sashimi in Ebisu

Name: kotoshinonushi / ことしろぬし
Style: Japanese (stew / 鍋物)
Neighborhood: Ebisu
Website: but that's the website for the original shop a few blocks away; for the particular location we went to see

My friend Jill Smolin was in town for Interbee, the huge Japanese video equipment show that's the Japanese equivalent of NAB. She had a... difficult... eating situation with her group because doesn't eat red meat, and one of the other members of her group eats almost nothing else. One night she and her daughter Phoebe broke away so I suggested they come down to Ebisu.

Despite being a Thursday, it was a holiday evening in Tokyo since Friday was a national holiday. I was actually planning to go to Umu but when we got there it was (inexplicably) closed! And here I had been worrying we wouldn't get a seat...

We wandered around a bit and chose Kotoshironushi. They had nabe and oden, both popular foods among Japanese in winter, as well as sashimi courses (Jill had a jones for raw fish after the various group arrangements). We didn't get any oden (I don't really like Oden, which is various things cooked in hot water for a long time). However, the nabe at this place was awesome. We got a big pot of various vegetables and seafood which was cooked at the table. Just before it's ready, you take a trencher of minced chicken and throw it into the pot. It cooks almost instantly and makes the whole thing into an approximation of chicken soup. It was awesome.

The sashimi course we got was also delicious, saba (mackeral) was a standout. We got a few things to add on to that (the house salad is very recommended) but the nabe fills you up pretty well.

I'm glad Jill got a chance to experience a full-on Japanese meal, and that I got to find another good place in Ebisu!