Monday, May 5, 2014

Kushikura... if you must

Speaking frankly Kushikura is not somewhere I'd probably visit again. However, I am posting this for those who find themselves in Kyoto wanting to try some easy Japanese without risk of being misunderstood.  This is 'first time visitor to Japan/ don't speak the lingo/ bit scaredy cat and not afraid to own it' foreigner paradise  - ie definitely a happy place for the less adventurous. English menu,  plenty of room if you are in a larger group, decent enough food (if you aren't too fussy...), booze, yaddah yaddah..

The eatery is clearly used to foreigners/tourists  - there were certainly an embarrassing number of them there when I visited. The food is ok,  but there's a bit too much pre-prep, without the usual amount of care that would be taken in Japan,  for my liking- eg part of my course was some vegetable crudites with a rather decent miso dip - some of the veg had clearly been cut many, many hours if not a day or so beforehand and were so cold and dried out in spots that they were almost frozen.  And no - that's not just because they were sitting on ice - everything that was premade had been sitting in the fridge some time - the dishes were cold too. 
While the grilled-things-on-sticks (Kushi = stick) were tasty enough I nearly gagged when I saw one of the cooks snip the top of a plastic bag of pre-peeled quail eggs and shoot them into a bowl. This is not what I am used to in Japan  - certainly not in Kyoto but this busy business keeps em coming so I guess they are just trying to keep up with demand. I've seen some glowing reviews for this place on other sites - I'm guessing by people who have either had better experiences here ( perhaps in its heyday?) or they are not used to real, honest, well prepared Japanese fare. 
So, what I am saying here is if you are travelling with kids, or have really finicky, meat and 3 veg kinda foreigner visitors in town in town  you might go/send them here coz they probably won't appreciate the finer offerings of Kyoto town. 
The one thing I did love was their painted veggie signposting out the front  - and the restaurant is housed in an atmospheric, traditional space. 

Here's a link to it on expedia where it is currently no.84 out of 3003 Kyoto restaurants mentioned...  hmmmm

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