This place started out on the right foot, with some yummy fried river shrimp (smaller than normal shrimp...more bite-size...just a couple inches long) with salt and lemon, with a potato chip-like taste (grease and salt). Eat it all - heads, shell, and antennae, but be careful not to choke on any of the limbs. This reminds me of those great little live sawagani crabs fried in salt and oil at Tanto, a great izakaya back in San Jose that was better than many izakaya in Japan. Actually, they also had a great potato mentaiko at Tanto, and similarly, Hachi-Manya had a great one too, with a hearty burnt cheese taste and hardly any fishiness from the mentaiko.
The udon here was supposed to be a special handmade sanuki udon, but I couldn't tell the difference. It wasn't bad (I liked the hot niku udon's savory beef slices as well as the cold wakame seaweed infused noodles), but it was not mind-blowing either (maybe my expectations were too high?). The same goes with the ochazuke I got at the end. If I come back, it will be for the other dishes, not necessarily the udon. The udon wasn't bad by any means (it was actually pretty good), but I just think that my expectations got out of hand.