A glass of “Junmai Yoshinogawa” at “Sakura Suisan” on the way from the Metropolitan office


Good evening!
Thank you very much for visiting this blog.
I would like to introduce a restaurant “Sakura Suisan” today.


On the way back from the Metropolitan office

In the last article, I wrote about the observation room of Tokyo Metropolitan office.
On the way back to Shinjuku Station, I decided to have a drink somewhere in Shinjuku because I didn’t go to Shinjuku so often, and headed the downtown area around the west exit of Shinjuku Station.

Comfortable evening wind was blowing, and the town was lively with many people.
Therefore, I hesitated to go in busy shops and restaurants by myself, and I finally reached Yodobashi Camera.
I turned back there and walked to the government office again.

When I came around the building of Japan Finance Corporation, I found a signboard of a restaurant, “Sakura Suisan”, across the road.
My image of “Sakura Suisan (Sakusui, in short)” is the place where we can have fish dishes and drinks with low prices.

They do one coin lunch (lunch for 500 yen or cheaper), and they have all-you-can-eat rice, raw eggs, and Nori (sheets of seaweed) in this lunch.
In dinner time, there are small dishes for 80 yen each, and also 190 yen beer and sour cocktails (I remember it was 190 yen…).
This restaurant was like the heaven for me who was younger and poorer (well, I’m not so rich yet, though).

When I was working for the previous company, there was another branch of Sakura Suisan near the office.
I used to go to there for lunch often, and also for some drinks at night sometimes.
However, there is no Sakusui around my present work place in Roppongi, or Asakusa where my home is, either.
I hadn’t been there for a few years, so I decided to try this Sakusui on that night.


Sakura Suisan after a long time

I entered the door, and went down to the underground.
There was the entrance over the stairs.

The one I used to go was in Nihonbashi, but this one in Shinjuku was different and looked more expensive.
I thought that it was because of the characteristics of each place.

The inside was wide and there were many Zashiki seats (seats to sit on Japanese traditional tatami floor), unlike the shop which I used to go.
The design and seats looked new maybe because the restaurant was made recently.

I expected that it wouldn’t be so different from the one I had known even though the location was different because it was a chain.
However, this shop was more fashionable (excuse me for my honest impression^^; )

I don’t know whether it was because their policy changed in the last 4 years and I was left over, or because only Shinjuku branch was different.
It was not only the interior which changed, but also how to order was changed.
When I was going to another Sakusui before, the customers marked what they wanted to order with red pencils on a piece of paper on which menus were written.

But, it became touch panel style.

What surprised me more than anything was that fish sausage (80 yen) which was the symbol of Sakusui for me had disappeared.
Fish sausage with mayonnaise should be popular for a snack at home, but it is rare to see restaurants.
I liked having mayonnaise and a drink rather than sausages.
I wish to have had it.


Foods of Sakusui

I browsed the room and menus, and ordered a whisky & soda to moisten my throat first.
After a while, the drink and an appetizer arrived.

Baigai shells (ivory shells), I thought.
It wasn’t bitter but sweet. It was a nice appetizer.
After my throat was moistened and became comfortable, I ordered foods and Nihonshu.
The foods I ordered were,

Burdock Caesar salad,

And 3 snacks on a plate.
From the left, kimchi (Korean pickles), boiled tiny fish, and Tarako (salted and seasoned cod roe).

Roasted pickled mackerel,

And Anago (conger-eel), pepper tempura.
They were all nice.

I wished to order “Sashimi plate of the day (1190yen + tax)”, but I thought that it would be too big for one person, so I gave it up.
By the way, I checked what it was like on their website later, and it mentioned, “For 2 or 3 people”^^;
When you get older and alone, there are restrictions in what you can order at a restaurant….


The first glass, “Junmai Yoshinogawa”

My first sake order was “Junmai Yoshinogawa”.
I chose it because it was the same brand as the one I saw at the restaurant in Metropolitan government office, “Yoshinogawa Taruzake”.

“Junmai Yoshinogawa” was clear and light like water, but it had rice’s soft taste and sweetness in deep part.
It was a kind of “neutral” when it got with foods.
When I had it with Tarako, it didn’t destruct the food and it just wrapped it.


The second glass, “Koshinobairi Tokubetsu Junmaishu”

I finished “Junmai Yoshinogawa”, and then I ordered “Koshinobairi Tokubetsu Junmaishu” next.

This sake is made by a group company of DHC, which is famous for health supplement and cosmetics.
I take their supplement for my health because I live by myself and usually work late, and it is difficult to have well-balanced meals.
Their products are reasonable and very useful!

Now, let’s get back to “Koshinobairi”.

It was light, but it also had clear flavor. I felt alcohol strongly.
When I had it with pickled mackerel, the food and sake helped each other to make the flavors sweeter and deeper.

When it went with boiled tiny fish, I felt richer sweetness and flavor.
Unlike “Junmai Yoshinogawa”, this sake changed its character depending on the food to go with.

The food I ordered for this sake was what I always take when I go to Izakaya restaurants.

It was Kara-age (Japanese deep fried chicken).
I had a bite, and it was so hot and juicy that I burnt my tongue with its oil a little bit.
I felt that the seasoning was soy sauce-based, and some garlic was contained, too.
I could taste other flavors, but I couldn’t tell what they were.

The Kara-age had a strong taste, but it matched Koshinobairi, and the sake refreshed my mouth and stimulated me to take another bite of food.
The chicken was very nice with sake, and I also thought that it must have been great with white rice.


The third glass, “Sakura Gokoro”

I had walked a lot on that day, and I should have burnt off a lot of calories.
Therefore, I ordered more foods.

This is salt-grilled sweetfish.
I once read in a cartoon saying that the taste of sweetfish differs depending on which river they grew up.

However, this fish tasted like what I have had before.
The seasoning of salt was just right and delicious.

The sake I ordered for the fish was,

It was an original brand of Sakusui.
The taste was like a typical Futsu-shu, and it also had unique flavor.
Futus-shu often has uncomfortable taste or too-light taste, but this sake was nice with clear and strong taste.

When I had the sake with the fish, the sweet tastes of each food and sake matched well.
The sake changed bitterness of the fish entrails to a deep good flavor.

To finish the meal,

I ordered 3 sushi of chef’s choice.
Each fish was delicious.
The rice balls beneath which were seasoned with sushi vinegar broke gently in my mouth and were also very nice.

It was Sakusui after about 4 years.
The impression had changed a lot during the time, and the price average was higher than before as well (I think that stopping fish sausage was the biggest reason for that).
However, their fantastic service to provide fresh fish for reasonable prices was still there.

It should be difficult to maintain low prices in the present Japan due to increasing personnel expenses, poor catch of fish, or overfishing.
I hope that they will succeed in their business and keep providing cheap but great foods and drinks within their possible range from now on too.


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