Varie (Yoshoku), Shimokitazawa

After hearing that the uber-popular Japanese comedian Gekidan Hitori(劇団ひとり) would go to this Yoshoku joint "Varie" when he wants to treat himself, my wife and I got curious and decided to try it. If you don't know what Yoshoku is, here's a little explanation I wrote on a previous post:

A quick recap for anyone not familiar with Yoshoku. This Japanese remix of so-called western cuisine is said to have appeared during the Meiji Period, when Japan opened to and started to embrace the European civilization as a mean to develop the country. Though most of the dishes are European recipes adapted to the Japanese palate and available local ingredients, some dishes like Omu-Raisu (ketchup flavored rice stuffed omelette) or Chicken Rice (not to mix up with the Hainanese Chicken Rice or the Arroz Con Pollo in Latin America) are somehow "originals".

What Gekidan Hitori craves for is the Katsu Kare (curry and rice with a piece of deep-fried pork cutlet), but I went for the chef's recommendation Beef Stew to start with, while my wife opted for the "Yoshoku classic" Hanbagu Suteki (Hamburger steak).

We were quickly given a rather lukewarm onion soup and a little salad as part of the lunch set. Both dishes are nothing to remember of, so I'll pass on the details.

The star of the day came to me a little lukewarm too, but that may have to do with me spending too much time trying several setting for the best pictures. As you can see, the stew comes with your typical "English" style boiled vegetables, though I think the carrots were buttered and the potatoes quickly sauteed. Same as the salad and the soup, the supporting roles did not change my life.

The beef is very well stewed while leaving a little resistance to the teeth : not quite the literally melting-in-your mouth, disintegrating one, but almost there. The meet is not annoyingly fibrous as it can sometimes be so it's definitely a pleasant eat. The sauce is the typical red-wine based glaze, a hint dense but pretty good, and doing wonders with the rice (served on a different place). There seems to be, as you can see from both pictures, quite some fresh cream added before serving.

Not bad overall, but it costs ¥1,500, and when the hamburger steak my wife ordered cost only ¥800, it suddenly felt quite expensive for what it is. According to her, the steak was good but nothing extraordinary.

Which brings me to an early conclusion: maybe we should have gone with Gekidan Hitori's recommendation in the first place, the Katsu Kare. For your reference, I have featured two of the said dish in the past so please have a look should you be curious: the curry shop Pannya and the old-school Yoshoku eatery Kitchen Nankai

Varie is closed on Thursdays and opened the rest of the week from 11:00am to 14:30pm for lunch and 17:00pm to 22:00pm for dinner.
2-29-12 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku
Click here for a MAP