In recent years Shizuoka has witnessed the welcome resurgence of traditional izakaya thanks to a merry band of young(ish) restaurateurs such as the owners of Oddakui, Yasatei and Hana Oto (and others that I will visit soon!). They all prove time and again to be true exponents of traditional Japanese gastronomy by going back to the basics and caring about their patrons’ pleasure. These gentlemen and ladies (yes, you heard me right!) are not afraid to serve and promote local products, be they fish, meat, vegetables, sake or other delicacies.
Unearthing Han Oto can become a small adventure in itself as it is tucked in one of those “dark corners” on the ground floor of one the most ancient buildings in the Ryogae-Cho district, the oldest haunt of Shizuoka night owls.
It used to be a “yakitori” until Yuusuke Tozaki and his younger brother, Keisuke, took it over in February 2004.
Great fans of the famous sake manga artist Akira Ose (“Kurabito Claude”), they changed nothing, preserving the ancient and warm atmosphere, only adding their own little touches.
Not only great sake including some jewels from Shizuoka Prefecture (Sugii, Takashima, Oomuraya and Kaiun Breweries for the moment) but also great shochu, including an extravagant real tea and rice shochu by Fujinishiki Brewery (Fujinomiya City) called “Chyakkiri Shi”!
Of course all kinds of spirits, awamori, soft drinks and even wine are available.
Now, Yusuke Tozaki has a special predilection for vegetables, especially from Shizuoka, and the enormous Shimizu Ku green asparaguses I was served sauteed with Chinese XO sauce were absolutely scrumptious! Foodhoe will want to fly there, I can tell you!
Even a vegetarian would have enough reasons to patronize the establishement!
But I am not, I ordered a plate of sashimi:
But before that, I had to taste a great Yamahai by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City with a little home-made pickled wasabi plant.
I could have checked the menu, which is renewed everyday but I let the owner choose for me.
Sashimi were absolutely fresh and delicious.Mind you, when you know the level of fish in this Prefecture it almost becomes a matter of course!
I was served “Mejimaguro tuna”, “Katsuo/Bonito”, raw “Tako/Octopus” and “Kurodai Seabream”.
I’ll let you judge!
The first sake having disappeared without notice I savoured another great Yamahai by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City.
As I had another commitment I unfortunately had to depart, but the owner would let me go before I tried another beauty called “Tatsuhisa” by Eiku Brewery in Yui that was not on the menu for the simple reason that the owner’s private sake!
Blimey, Gaijin Tonic would never leave such a place! I will have to convince Lojol to accompany me for a lengthier visit next time!
420-0033 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 3-9, Hoshi Bldg. 1F
Business hours: 18:00~03:00 (until 05:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed on Mondays