Sunday, March 20, 2011

Big chowdown in Little Tokyo

In front of the entrance, a torii

For my birthday, we wanted someplace new so I decided to research a place I pass by everyday, a small cluster of authentic Japanese restaurants called  "Little Tokyo".
Turning Japanese

Ma admires a bonsai tree
Twinx and Ma stroll along the path to the other restos inside

 But first, a short backstory. Years ago, after a practice bowling session with my officemates, we went to one of the restos there, which my friend assured me was an affordable place. The first one we entered was a chic place where we had to remove our shoes and sit in front of a low table just like in old Japanese movies. But when we looked at the prices, we had to get out.  It was too expensive. We ended up in one resto with all 3 of us sharing a tonkatsu and some shredded lettuce and mayo while the waitresses and other customers looked at us with pity. My officemate said she never felt so poor in her life and I vowed to return one day to redeem my family's honor! bwahahaha!

I never did remember where we first ate but I chose to eat at Shinjuku, which was famous for its ramen and gyoza. Finding a parking space is difficult but luckily, we were able to get in without prior reservations.

The interiors are nothing fancy but quite clean and cozy. The prices are on the high side but I rationalized that it's still cheaper than actually going to Japan. Twinx and her husband were running late so we ordered without them. I found out that most of the restos here had their own specialties so you might have to go to another place for something that's not on the menu. Fortunately, they had sushi and sashimi which my sister and mom were hankering for. Most of the items on the menu did not have English descriptions but the servers were very helpful.

Manten ramen, Large serving for up to 6 people , P410. By the time Twinx arrived, this was all that was left for her camera shot. A mix of pork , veggies and seafood. I tasted a smoky flavor probably from the pan-roasted pork. This was a winner in taste and presentation!
Gyoza, 6 pcs, P260. It's like Japanese dimsum. Good but not spectacular.

Tuna sashimi, P300. I didn't try this as I'm not a big fan of raw fish

California maki, P185 for 6 pieces. Very filling!

Tempura, 6 pieces, P490. Very expensive but they were deliciously crisp and juicy. Behind that was my order of Chahan or fried rice, Large, P335. This was a meal in itself because it has lots of pork and veggie slices mixed in. I actually got full from this. Note that all the orders did not come with rice which we ordered separately for P110 per Large bowl.

In all, I spent P3,200 for this meal, which is very expensive by our standards. It's a good thing Pa lent me extra cash because we usually just spend around P2,000+ at Italianni's and even less at Gerry's Grill. I think this was a great place to try out but I don't think we'll come back anytime soon. Ma says she knows a place that offers bento boxes at more affordable prices.

But to my officemates, I say we can now raise our heads proudly! I have redeemed us from our dreaded dining dishonor!

Takoyaki balls being cooked at Hana. We were too full to try them out.

Ehem, anyway, after dinner we checked out the other restaurants in Little Tokyo.
Pretty lights and lanterns

Lots of people dining al fresco. But Ma and Twinx didn't like the smoke from the meats being grilled at one of the restos.

There's also a conveniece store that sells most of their products for P80. You'd think that was cheap till you realize that even crackers and chips cost P80. I wish I' had taken a picture of a cute little Japanese girl carrying a basket of stuff while holding her pink stuffed bunny. It was like something straight out of an anime movie.

Twinx goes panic buying for Japanese goodies.

In front of Shinjuku

All in all, it was a very satisfying dining experience and it was great to see my sister again. She's quite excited about the baby and also moving into their own place by the end of the month.

The only disappontments were the supermoon, which was supposed to be a much closer moon but it looked the same to me...and when we dropped by Conti's for dessert, they had run out of my favorite peach walnut torte! Oh well... next week is Papa's birthday!

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