We’re on my way to Nikko! Which, for me, requires a stopover in Asakusa. Home of the Senso-ji Temple, the Tokyo Skytree and the giant gold poop (probably not its real name.)
We decided to get a quick bite to eat and happened upon a cool looking place. Gonpachi at its heart is an izakaya but for me its more of a restaurant. It’s certainly not a place that I would feel comfortable getting drunk and lairy with the guys like other izakayas. This izakaya is a touch classier.
The Edo period pictures on the wall, the open space, and the relaxing tone of the room creates a great ambiance. Upstairs overlooks the river and makes a great frame for the impressive array of buildings in the distance (and the golden poop). The food is great! The vegetarian and the meat dishes are delicious. We went with the set meal options that come with rice, miso, and soba, instead of ordering everything separately.
I got the “Yakatori-Don” which is three types of skewered chicken, rice bowl, soba noodles, and miso. The chicken was smoky succulent, and extremely delicious! The miso was very deep and full of umami flavor and the cold soba was refreshing.
The veggie dish, believe it or not, was better! The crisp, fresh, vegetable tempura was just as good, but lighter, and a nice accompaniment for the rest of the meal.
The staff speaks English and are exceptional. Why? Well, let me explain (bit of a rant coming). It’s in this restaurant that I encountered the worst people ever. Unfortunately, they were from England, in their 50s, and the most pretentious, arrogant, know-it-all couple that I have ever had the misfortune of dining next to. To start with, they both sounded like James William Bottomtooth from Family Guy, and nothing was good enough, if not completely wrong. The food was too small, the tea wasn’t strong enough, they were outraged that the Soba noodles that they were given (not ordered, it just comes with the meal) were, “stone cold!” and demanded that they take it back and heat it up. If you didn’t know, cold soba noodles are cold.
Look, I understand that some people are fussy, and some people don’t like certain foods. However, demanding you heat up cold Soba, kick-off about the sauce that comes with your teriyaki chicken, moan about how high and uncomfortable the bar stools are, and complain about the strength of your matcha tea, what are you actually doing in a Japanese restaurant? In fact, if they are like this for thirty minutes in a restaurant, what are they like for the rest of their time in Japan?!
Of course, the team apologized and accommodated them in every way. The thing is, Japanese restaurants don’t typically alter what’s on the menu but the customer is always right (no matter what) and any issues are handled amazingly. If it was me serving, I would’ve poured their cold soba noodles in their laps. A message to people that visit Japan and don’t like Japanese food, go eat at Mc Donald’s instead of complaining and moaning at people just doing their jobs.
All in all, the restaurant was good in every way and despite the company, I had a really good lunch and would definitely eat there again!