Saturday, December 01, 2007
A cut above, tucked away. Mifune Udon is in the less frequented building of Japantown, near Ichiban Kan and the Kabuki Hotel. It's big and busy sister is in the main mall, and there are some menu and food differences.
Outside there is the familiar glass display of plastic foods, which help you make a choice. These are common in Japan, and are a life saver when you are first learning Japanese. This little sister Mifune doesn't have the crush of traffic, so can prepare things such as okonomiyaki (reputedly best in the bay area), simmered dishes, and they make their stocks from scratch.
You walk under the traditional noren curtains to enter the small but cozy space.
We first ordered some fresh, hot edamame.
Then some kinpira. The kinpira was a little inventive. Typically kinpira is just braised carrot and burdock sliced in thin sticks. This kinpira additionally had some konnyaku strips and lotus root included. Nice (and not vegetarian since part of the braising liquid contains fish). Sorry I blurred the shot a bit.
Dad ordered the Oyako Donburi (chicken and egg simmered and placed over a bowl of rice), which came with a bowl of miso soup. He said both were great!
And I ordered the quasi-vegetarian sansai soba (Japanese mountain vegetables) which came on a try with with tsukemono (Japanese style pickles).
Quasi-vegetarian since the two pink and white half-circles floating on top are fish cakes, and the broth is definitely a clear fish-based broth. One thing about having avoided meat/poultry/fish for awhile, the clarity of the taste of food is amazing. And this broth was extra special. I asked how it was made, and found it is made of two types of fish, simmered gently for hours, katsuo (bonito) and saba (mackerel). The broth was clear and the flavor was mellow and deep. Definitely a place for a repeat visit.
An aside, amazingly my father's vision DRAMATICALLY improved yesterday with a follow up examination for his macular degeneration. Could it have something to do with having a near-vegetarian diet for a few weeks (his has been less strict than mine, but significantly veggie)? He's been followed for this every month for more than a year, and there has been nothing like today's improvement. Hmmmm...