While returning from work and getting off the Shingawa JR Station, I wander to the Takanawa exit. In the corner right next to a pachinko bar was a building filled with little izakayas and drink shops. And there stood an unpretentious shop called Robatayaki Sake Ozeki.
The owner must be a sumo fan. Even the name of the shop is named after the sumo rank of Ozeki – which used to be the top rank until they introduced the Yokozuna rank. Ozekis that have won consecutive tournaments get promoted to Yokozuna. And there were many sumo related memorabilia decorating the tiny shop consisting of a bar table that most probably can squeeze in 16 people.
To start the evening, what better than a cold one. Ozeki offered a special bottled Suntory Malt from Hokkaido, which was quite right rate in Tokyo. And like all good izakaya traditional, a small starter came with the “entrance fee”. Tonight it was savoury 冷奴には明太子 cold tofu with mentaiko.
赤貝 Ark Shell sashimi – ark shell is like an oversized cockle. After cleaning the innards and washing off the blood, the remaining crisp, crunchy texture and great umami was unparalleled.
Next we had yakitori but with salt instead of the usual teriyaki sauce.
Japan is famous as a nation that loves raw seafood. But dried fish has a much longer history here and has played an important role in Japanese society for hundreds of years. There are basically two kinds of dried fish products in Japan. The first, which goes by various names, is dried (sometimes after fermenting) for a long period until it’s rock-hard and keeps very well, such as katsuobushi, fermented and dried skipjack tuna or bonito that is shaved like wood and used in dashi stock. The other type is usually called himono (roughly translates as “dried things”), which is typically grilled and eaten as-is.
一夜干し Ichiyaboshi is a type of himono that is made from lightly brined fish that is left to dry overnight. The fish, typically mackerel or similar fish, is then grilled before serving.
中とろ Medium fatty tuna was really fresh and tasty, a quality level quite rare in an Izakaya. They also have another version that’s the shaving of the tuna and at an affordable ¥700. Not always available.
豚バラ焼肉 Grilled pork belly – salty, good with the beer.
焼きシーホーク Grilled Sea Whelk – another good grill item to eat with beer.
The place is really packed at meal time, staff does not speak english and english menu is not available. Cash only.
Robatayaki Sake Ozeki 炉ばた焼き 酒肆 大関
東京都港区高輪3-26-33 秀和品川ビル 2F
3 Chome-26-33 Takanawa Minato-ku Tokyo-to