The food wasn’t that great, I would even call this a mediocre izakaya. What attracted me into the place was that it still had a seat at the counter.
It was the Rugby World Cup and Japan was playing. Every place with a TV in Akasaka was packed with cheering Japanese supporting their home team. Even the street stores selling takeaways were packed if they had a TV.
Once seated, I was served the otoshi – a simple piece of hiyayakko with a measly sprinkling of negi.
When they realised I am not local, they handed me a Chinese/English menu, but the selection was much less than the Japanese one, and did not have the daily specials that were scribbled on the blackboard. I ordered a daily special of sardine sashimi (delicious, fatty and moist) and the izakaya classic – the stewed radish. The yakitori was nothing to shout at, very bland and unappetising. I quickly finished with a couple of grilled onigiri (rice balls).
While I was not impressed with their food, their service was fantastic. Especially when they realised I am not Japanese and struggling with the menu. The waiters sheepishly switched to Mandarin. It was not encouraged for the waiters to speak a foreign language even if they knew the customer was a fellow native. This is apparent in 7-11 too. The managers will frown on the “non-Japanese” experience.
This place has gone so quiet with the Covid-19 epidemic, I wished they would recover.
Akafuda-ya Benkei 赤札屋 弁慶
Japan, 〒107-0052 Tokyo, Minato City, Akasaka, 3 Chome−15−1 アカサカコーストビル 1F
Tel : +81 3-3586-5210
Date Visited : Sep 2019