Part2: Ya-Yu (Japanese), Shimokitazawa

It is the first time I cover one place twice but I really think Ya-Yu deserves it. The cost performance is incredible, and for me, that's a good enough reason.

The first time we went there, we opted for the traditional "Ika No Shiokara" (squid marinated in its own guts) to match our beers, so this time we selected the "Cheese No Miso-Zuke" (cream cheese marinated in fermented bean Miso sauce). It wasn't mind-blowing, but it definitely did its job as the perfect appetizer.
You like cream cheese? You like it even slightly saltier? There you go, order it. The miso aroma is almost inexistant, just enough to add that salty kick to the cream, whereas the finely chopped shiso leaves bring freshness to the recipe for a perfect taste balance.

Since we loved the vegetables they served us on our first visit, we tried their "Hatake No Sashimi" plate (cuts of raw vegetables). The different veggies are served with two small portions of low-salt Miso paste and a Japanese-style cold Bagna Cauda sauce (vegetable oil with hints of anchovy and garlic). Man, those ingredients were good!

The beautiful dish contained some cucumber, Goboh (Burdock root), red radish, chicory, chinese cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and all sort of delicious stuff among which a newbie in the veggie-world and still very rare yellow crunchy ingredient called コリンキー (the Japanese word sounds like the English "Colin Key"), a pumpkin that has been modified to suit raw eating. It doesn't really taste like pumpkin when you chew on it, but the after-taste is quite like it.
Anyway, all the stuff was fresh and a pleasure to eat. The textures were great so were the color of each roots, leaves and fruit. I think it's better to eat them without sauce to further enjoy the experience.

When you sit at the counter, you get to see the chef preparing all the dishes. Not only you have the opportunity of being able to witness the care and attention with which he cooks his cuisine, but you get to have a good look at potential future orders. I couldn't forget the "Tori No Karaage" (fried chicken) I had seen him cook on the first visit, so we went for it.
It's a simple but very well done KaraAge. The skin was hard and crunchy, the meat was firm and juicy but tender inside. It was once again low on salt (which tendency I like, as you might have noticed by now) and I liked it. This guy doesn't make any flashy stuff. Just like the menu, it's all basic recipes, but beautifully done and at a cheap price.

By the way, I had ordered in the meantime a recommended by the chef glass of Sake called "Suminoe" from the northern Miyagi prefecture. I think it was a tint yellow (couldn't tell whether the glass was that color or the alcohol), and it tasted smooth, slightly on the dry side and probably great with any food.

Our final dish was the Kakuni Chahan (fried rice with simmered pork) which was a grandiose way of finishing this satisfying meal. The portion was big, so be sure that you're still a little hungry when you order it, as its size might exceed your expectation. The taste of the cuisine did exceed my expectations for sure: the rice was fried just the way I love it, that is dry and not sticky; the egg as well as the fibrous bits of simmered pork and the generous topping of chopped leek combined really well in a sober yet delicious fried rice.

So, another recap: two beers, a glass of nice cold sake, a small appetizer, three dishes for a total of ¥4,400. Not bad?

Yu-Ya is closed on Mondays and open the rest of the week from 18:00pm to 24:00pm (L.O. 23:00pm). They will be open until 02:00am (L.O. 01:00am) in July
Setagaya-ku, Daizawa 5-33-5
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