Ghibier, vending machines… “Unexpected Corona Offensive and Defense Strategy” by stubborn shopkeepers | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ghibier, vending machines… “Unexpected Corona Offensive and Defense Strategy” by stubborn shopkeepers

The result of too much attention to detail is cutting edge!

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The newest one is unexpectedly Pheasant Curry! Stubborn father’s long-established curry store / “Sendai” (Jimbocho)

This is the face you get when you say “roux” for curry

Do you all… remember the sultry restaurant “Sendai” in Jimbocho that we introduced in 2019? This is a thrilling curry store where you never know where owner Tetsuo Fujiwara’s landmines are, which is sure to win him probably third place in the Tokyo Stubborn Shop Championship. But as you will see in the article, Mr. Fujiwara is not a scary person simply because he is honest; he makes his 500 yen (previously 450 yen) curry with extraordinary care, and it is no exaggeration to say that 95% of his brain maker consists of the belief that he wants to serve delicious food at a reasonable price.

■[Not interested in “food log” ratings! The scarier the restaurant, the more love there is for it Jimbocho “Sendai”] is here.

Around the time this article was published, Corona started and Nekota left Tokyo, so I had an unfortunate period of not being able to go to “Sendai”. I wonder how Mr. Fujiwara is doing. I wondered how Fujiwara-san was doing and wondered if he was getting weaker due to the decrease in customers at Corona…but finally, his long-cherished wish to visit Sendai came true.

Let’s start with this! The curry is served as “makai curry”. The curry served to customers is about three times larger than this.

Whenever I visit the restaurant after lunch time for an interview, Mr. Fujiwara and his staff are eating makanaka, but they also serve it to Nekota, who is not working. On this day, I had curry with pork cutlet and tsukemen noodles. Tsukemen…noodles from some noodle factory? I thought, “Supermarket! This is delicious,” he said. He is as free as ever.

And then, a song-like murmur heard again today, “Oh, our curry is delicious. No other restaurant serves such good curry. Curry must be happy to hear that. Just as vegetables are nurtured by listening to Mozart’s music, so too will curry voluntarily become better and better to meet expectations.

It has not declined at all. Rather, it’s stubbornness and concentration are increased! A sense of urgency, as if our lives would be in danger if we didn’t comply…. What is this, a warning sign in a chemical factory?

This pasteboard pressured me the moment I entered the restaurant. The moment a customer pulls out his cell phone, it says, “This is it! They point to the If you are so reassuring that you can fiddle with your phone when you see this, I think you should get a part-time job at Sendai already.

But look closely at the words, “Please cooperate with us in our pursuit of deliciousness. After all, Mr. Fujiwara, I had to do this simply because I want you to eat it while it tastes good.

■Customers are increasing due to the Corona disaster!

Fujiwara-san calls his son “Tsuyoshi-san” and does not allow him to work overtime when he is at work. Another wave of work style reforms here!

So, are sales down in Corona? I asked him, “I’ m busy. Sometimes we get 200 customers a day. Since it is an office area, the number of customers has indeed decreased at night, but daytime business is as brisk as ever.

So busy is the new starter, his son Tsuyoshi. He quit his previous job completely and became his father’s right hand man.

■What is the new menu that is too niche to be unexpected…

What is even more unusual. That is a new development: we have started a gibier menu. When we think of gibier, we think of deer, wild boar, duck, etc., but what they have suddenly started is “pheasant curry”! They’ve gone for a niche. We asked for more details.

The price is a whopping three times that of a chicken curry!
  • Cat: “Why did you decide to start gibier curry?”
  • Fuji “Originally I was also a restaurant chef. I’ve been through a lot, and I know… The best thing in French cuisine is gibier.”
  • Neko “Indeed, that’s what some famous French chef said! (And I’ll try to lift it up.)”
  • Fuji “(I haven’t heard.) In Japan today, there is a lot of damage from deer and wild boar, isn’t there? They are boiled or roasted in French cuisine, but I haven’t heard much about using them in curry. So, I thought it would be absolutely delicious if we tried it in our curry.
This is the ingredient pheasant meat
  • Cat “Heh! And why pheasant all of a sudden?”
  • Fuji “because I like it. I used to catch and eat pheasants around there when I was a kid.”
  • Cat “You are a wild child! By the way, Mr. Fujiwara was born just after the war ended. By the way, do you serve other gibier curries?”
  • Fuji “We have already purchased meat for Ezo sika deer and are getting ready to start. I was going to do wild rabbit, but I felt sorry for it and decided not to…”
  • Cat “(Ya, kind!) By the way, how many servings of pheasant curry do you serve per day?
  • Fuji: “Two or three meals, since they cost 1,300 yen.
  • Cat: “And yet you continue. I have an image that pheasant meat is tough.
  • Fuji “It’s not really hard. You can eat it boiled or baked. It’s because it’s a bird!”
  • Cat “I don’t understand (laughs). I’ll take it anyway!”

To prepare the dish, the pheasant bones are first boiled for two hours to make bouillon. Curry is a soup stock. If it’s seafood, you use the seafood broth, if it’s meat, you use the meat broth to dissolve the roux. People misunderstand that roux is curry stock, and curry sauce is curry sauce dissolved in roux. That’s why everyone calls it roux. I’ve probably heard this story about 500 times!

Rice is fried with curry powder to make curry pilaf

And then, the pheasant bouillon is combined with cream, cheese, onions, garlic, and other vegetables and put in a blender. Then the curry roux is dissolved and the pheasant curry sauce is ready.

Oh, the meat on top is clearly pheasant!

Finally, half of the sauteed pheasant meat is added to the sauce, with the rest floating on top. The reason I do it this way is because “if it’s in there, you can’t tell if it’s a chicken or not!” The Even if it’s on top, it’s a pheasant! I don’t think anyone will be able to tell…but that’s okay.

The curry pilaf is topped with a fried egg, which makes quite an impact!

One bite of the curry sauce (not roux) tastes different from the beef curry! The pheasant meat is a little more resilient than chicken, but it is very light and bland. However, the more you chew it, the more the flavor slowly emerges.

The pheasant meat is served over pilaf with egg. It is a delicious dish regardless of the pheasant!

In addition to the pheasant curry, the gibier series will also include “venison curry” on the menu. On this day, it was still in the prototype stage, so we were not able to try it. Too bad. I wonder if they will send it to us by courier when it is completed.

This is a venison loin. I heard that Ezo-shika deer is still delicious.

They are also considering wild boar and bear curry in the future. Mr. Fujiwara thought he was out of touch with current trends in the world, but perhaps he instinctively sensed the wave of SDGs.

The signature dish, beef tongue curry, is 800 yen. The price has recently gone up 50 yen, but it must still be just under the break-even point!

He is as congenial as ever with his wife Miyoko. Unlike his father, Tsuyoshi has a softer demeanor, which is unfortunate, because it seems that the “legend of the scary restaurant in Sendai” will diminish in the future… (laughs).

But when I secretly ask Tsuyoshi, “Aren’t you scared of your father? But?” When I prodded him, he replied, “Sometimes I’m in trouble. They suddenly start preparing something, and it’s not the right time! And so on. I think I know what you mean! It’s a go-nowhere, go-my-way kind of thing.

The three of us get along well today.

With the addition of Tsuyoshi, who is highly IT literate, promotion has been strengthened, and eventually they plan to start selling frozen products over the Internet and wholesale retort pouch products for commercial use. The day when Sendai expands nationwide is not far off. Please add Nekota to our group when you do. We will do our best in Kansai!

SENDAI” 1F Tanaka Bldg., 1-64-1 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Buying beef stew or beef tongue from a “vending machine” is the standard in 2022! / “Ramen Shoppu Nakayoshi” (Ayase)

This is another of Nekoda’s favorite restaurants, Ramen Shoppu Nakayoshi in Ayase. The owner of this store is also stubborn, and I think it is one of the top three most stubborn stores in Tokyo. So, the top three of the most stubborn restaurants in Tokyo are occupied by Sendai and Nakayoshi. Where is the other one? Vautre Sante Endo in Ginza, perhaps.

For those who don’t know who this restaurant is, it is famous for its meaty ramen dishes such as “Beef Sinew Bukkake.

Default beef bukkake ramen: 900 yen
This is barbecue pork bukkake, 930 yen.
Beef tongue bukkake with tender beef tongue on top, 980 yen.

I hadn’t been able to visit this place in Corona, but I visited for the first time in about two years to see if the owner, Baba-san, was as energetic and tongue-tied as ever.

■That was so funny because you haven’t changed at all!

I’m not supposed to show my face, but I had to!

Baba-san, his eyes as sharp as ever, said, “Nekota, it’s been a long time! What have you been up to?” He welcomed us warmly. And “Eat first! The same style as at “Sendai”, where the chef makes us eat a bowl of food before the interview. I feel the same parental love.

Japanese beef is stewed in a pressure cooker until it is as tender as possible, and seasoned with a blend of several kinds of premium soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine). It has a sweet sukiyaki-style flavor.

Yum! It’s been about 3 years since I’ve had beef bukkake, and the taste hasn’t changed. I can feel Baba’s enthusiasm. I’m in a good mood, “Beer, please! I said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.

However, this ramen really takes away our ability to fight. I was so ecstatic that I didn’t care about the interview, so I’ll cut to the chase.

What is this nabe? I ask, “It’s all meat!” I was very impressed with the quality of the food and the service. Not many ramen shops would have a kitchen filled with meat like this!

By the way, Baba-san, you haven’t changed. By the way, Baba, you haven’t changed at all. The question came back slightly troublesome. I answered, “I’m 52 years old,” but he replied, “You idiot, I’m already 66 years old! You were over 60 when you came to interview me!” I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do it. Oops, that’s just a big “Dumbo 1.

He has been walking every morning for 20 years, takes a nap at 3:30 p.m., and drinks only after 5 p.m. on his days off. He says, “In order to serve good food to customers, I have to be in good health! I see what you mean…he is a customer-first person!

■He had started to sell something at the front.

Souvenirs” casually sold in stores. New products such as curry and bean-paste sauce.
  • Cat: “Baba, what are those souvenirs outside the store?”
  • Horse: “That’s just selling the meat for the bouquet. It’s vacuum-packed. We developed a lot of things while we were in Corona.”
  • Cat: “Were you closed during Corona?”
  • Horse: “We never closed a day! We did have shortened hours, though. Because you have employees. Our part-timers are Vietnamese kids, so they spent a lot of money to come to Japan. They can’t even go back to their hometowns, so we have to protect their employment!”
  • Cat “Oh my god…”
  • Ma said, “So I did take-out, but I tried to sell the atama, or stewed beef tendon, for souvenirs. It sells quite well. We also sell curry and hot bean paste sauce to-go.

Indeed, during the interview, a family passing by impulsively bought the beef stew. And Baba, he even added a free curry, saying, “I’ll give you a curry too, so you can eat it!” The young mother said, “Why! I don’t know what that means.” She was surprised, but I really don’t know what it means (laughs). Fat belly….

Furthermore, Baba was thinking of various ways to use the Corona disaster as a springboard. Dishes we had not seen before, such as chicken skin stewed in sweet and spicy sauce and sanbaizu vinegar, are now on the menu. This is no longer a ramen restaurant… I tried the chicken skin sanbaizu.

  • Cat “Wow, this goes well with beer (and casually asks for sake).”
  • Horse “(still ignoring). This is the chicken skin that the butcher is giving away at a discount, which I have never even used before, so I thought I’d make use of it. Because it’s an animal that was born all this way, you know, and I feel sorry for it if I don’t use all of it.”
  • Cat: “He’s saying the same thing as Sendai’s father! Then curry and hot pepper paste should also be made in that spirit.”
  • Ma said, “We use this chicken skin in the bean-paste as well. In order to serve it to customers at a low price, we lower the cost to the last possible moment.”
  • Cat “I mean, curry and hot pepper paste are 200 yen! Too cheap.”

Ma said, “But I won’t lower the quality. The same goes for the beef. For example, the soy sauce we use, a sweet soy sauce called “Kuromitsu Soy Sauce,” costs 1,000 yen per liter. That’s about 10 times the price of regular soy sauce. But what do you think the people at Yamasa were thinking when they made this soy sauce?

Cat “……”

Ma “I made this soy sauce because I wanted people to be able to use it well. So, we take that thought and make something delicious for our customers to eat. But because soy sauce is so expensive, we have to lower the cost somewhere, right? That’s how we use beef tallow. Normally we don’t use it in cooking, but we cook it in this expensive soy sauce, mix it with the beef fat, and put it on ramen noodles. That way we don’t waste food, we can keep the price down, we can make something tasty, and our customers are happy, right?”

Baba insists on using no chemical seasonings. This soy sauce is also additive-free.
  • Cat “I see…Baba-san thinks more properly than he looks!”
  • Horse: “What do you mean, more than meets the eye?”
  • I am getting more and more comfortable with being heckled, so I ask more probing questions.
  • Cat “As I recall, Baba-san has experience in Chinese cuisine and many other genres, right?
  • Ma “You’ve totally forgotten what I asked you a long time ago, haven’t you? German, Italian, Chinese, and Korean food.
  • Cat “So this bean paste has an authentic taste. Is there soy sauce or something in it?”
  • Horse “I don’t use any such thing! It’s all bullshit.”
  • Cat “Do you put this spicy seasoning on the table? Was this homemade?
  • Horse: “I told you before! It’s made with salad oil, garlic, sugar, chili pepper, and vinegar.”
  • Cat “Heh. Gumogumogu.”
  • Horse: “You’re just eating all the time and listening to people!”

…and so the conversation goes on, too much of a mesh, but Baba is not angry by any means. But Baba-san is not angry at all. He is just as pure as Fujiwara-san at Sendai.

When I broke into the kitchen to check out the food, I saw an unfamiliar instrument!

Advanced mechanisms, not unlike those found in this restaurant, are in abundance. Baba-san has purchased a large vacuum machine to make take-out beef broth and bean-paste sauce. What’s more, they are planning to start selling beef broth and beef tongue stew from vending machines soon! In this day and age, this is not the time to be buying canned juices and the like from vending machines. Buying beef stew or beef tongue is the standard in 2021.

There are many other things I would like to write about, but I will leave that for another time.

Or the cream stew in a shell…. If you make a reservation for a banquet, you can have a course meal of Baba’s special like this!

■Remembering Baba’s venomous tongue, I ate a souvenir.

I received the takeout beef, curry, and bean-paste sauce and tried them at home in Osaka. Beef tendon bukkake contains 350 grams of beef tendon, which is enough for about two servings. When heated in the microwave, the fat melts, giving it a visual appearance that is irresistible to abrarians.

Both the beef tendon and the fat are so thickly cooked that you can hardly grasp them with chopsticks. The expression “Beef tendon is a drink!” is an old expression. I am tempted to say, “I’m not a fan of that. There are chunks of food in it. I resisted the urge to devour it as is and decided to recreate it in Nakayoshi style.

Here it is. I put a raw egg on top to recreate the bukkake ramen at the restaurant. The beef is so flavorful that you can even go without broth. But, I can’t get into the mood without Baba’s handmade noodles….

And here is the bean-curd sauce. It is filled with well-cooked minced meat, which is also fatty and very tasty. It has a strong flavor, so I recommend putting it on tofu or rice. This oily dish is recommended for those who like fattening dishes.

I poured the curry over rice honestly. It is an authentic curry that is properly cooked with spicy spices (they don’t give you the details). The spiciness is mild, but it still has a “Nakayoshi-esque” richness to it. I was told that the beef scraps are used to make this curry. Yes, that’s the spirit of “mottainai”!

When I was eating the Nakayoshi menu at home, I was reminded of Baba-san. I wanted to take that tongue-in-cheek jab, and my tears were loose (laughs).

But both “Sendai” and “Nakayoshi” are not sitting on their hands because of the Corona disaster. Nekoda was also pleased to see that the company was taking an aggressive stance in formulating a business strategy and taking proper action. Oddly enough, I was surprised to see that both stores were implementing “work style reform,” “food loss reduction,” and “sustainability” without even being aware of it, out of consideration for others, such as “I feel sorry for the animals that have taken the trouble to be born,” and “I don’t want my employees to quit. This is the kindness of a stubborn father who is committed to the SDGs! It is precisely because the restaurant is like that that fans are falling more and more in love with it.

Beef tongue stew for the vending machine. I didn’t get to it in time for the article to be published, but I think it will start selling in Nakayoshi stores soon!

By the time this article is published, “Sendai” will probably be serving venison curry as well as pheasant curry, and “Nakayoshi” will probably be selling beef bukkake and other dishes from vending machines in its stores. Please visit there and tell them that you read the article in Nekota. I don’t think they will take you seriously!

Ramen Shoppu Nakayoshi 3-9-6 Ayase, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

  • Interview, text, and photographs Shigeru Nekota

    Born in 1979. Worked as an editor and writer for town magazines, travel books, and recipe books. Currently a web writer, writing on a wide range of topics from decadence to traditional crafts. He is a lover of sake despite his weakness, and his life motto is "Sake is best drunk while walking.
    Shigeru Nekota's food blog "I love quirky restaurants!

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