Friday, December 20, 2013

Izakaya Tonzen in Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Yakitori Osusume

With the rain having finally stopped tonight, I made my way out onto the streets of Ikebukuro to see if there were anything interesting to eat. That was a silly thing to ask! The alleyways just east of the JR station were teeming with food, among other things, with a seemingly endless array of things to choose from. Some of them were chains like Sukiya, Go!Go! Curry!, and Za Watami, but there were plenty of others too. I stopped at what appeared to be a lively standing-room-only bar, all covered with heavy translucent plastic sheets on the outside. I'd always wanted to check one of those places out, so I went in.

OK there were a few stools, and maybe there were some tables on the other floors, but the ground floor is where I saw a bunch of old men huddled around drinking. I found an open spot to stand and at ordered a number of snacks to go with my beers, including those yakitori above (all great although the liver took a bit of effort), some kind of spicy stewed beef tendon that they recommended (it was surprisingly tender), and even a rendition of gambas al ajillo (very close to how they do it in Spain, even if the super fresh shrimp in this one were larger). Cool.

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