Yakitori lunch at Kamakura Uzuki
January 14, 2014
On April 7, 2013, a car and driver took our guide Eva, Linda and me to Kamakura for the day. This ancient capital of Japan is over an hour’s drive south from Tokyo.
Our first stop in Kamakura was the Buddhist Hasedera Temple.
The second stop was the 13th century Daibutsu at Kotokuin Temple.
We then went on to the main pedestrian shopping street of Kamakura.
It is the site of yakitori restaurant Kamakura Uzuki, up the stairs in this photo, where we had lunch.
To the left is the counter where we sat; in the center is the grill on which everything is cooked. In between, vegetables for grilling are displayed. The chef has whatever he needs, and more, close at hand.
A tray with soy sauce and other condiments for the yakitori was put in front of us along with a cup of green tea.
I went on to a small pitcher of sake.
There was a discussion with the chef, Eva translating, about what we wanted. The vegetables displayed in front of us looked enticing; the main dishes would be chicken.
The bottles you see on the shelves at the upper right are the private sake stocks of regular customers.
When a skewer was ready, the chef would place it in a serving dish, which he then delivered to us with a long-handled paddle. He is dressed appropriately for standing right over the very hot grill.
The first course was grilled shiitakes.
This variety of Japanese potato is more like a taro root. (We did not order the skewered gingko nuts, although I wish we had.)
After the potato has been grilled, the diner dips its cut end in salt and then squeezes the closed end of the skin pushing out the edible meat.
A good, subtle flavor in a somewhat gooey texture.
Eggplant and ginger.
The freshly grated ginger really helped bring out the eggplant’s flavor.
Chicken with soy sauce and leeks.
The sauce was slightly sweet which helped it to achieve a nice char.
Chicken with salt and leeks.
This was more austere, but allowed the taste of the chicken to come through.
Eva serves chicken rice into our three bowls.
The rice had absorbed the flavor of the chicken and kept its good texture. It was sparked up by fresh spring bamboo shoots and a few pickles.
Finally, we had a clear soup with tofu and chives.
Our lunch was just right for the occasion. We could relax in a casual and attractive ambience with traditional yakitori cuisine as it is served in many small restaurants all over Japan.
At the nearby Shinto shrine Hachiman-gu we watched and heard a traditional wedding with three musicians playing old instruments.
Our last major stop before the drive back to Tokyo was the zen Kenchoji Temple.
We had a full day, which is always best when it includes a good lunch.