Visiting Japan, and tired of all the bland and overpriced food and drinks they’re serving you in Tokyo’s tourist traps? Afraid to try one of those ubiquitous “hole in the wall” places you see everywhere else because you don’t speak Japanese, fear they might be inhabited by trolls, and haven’t developed a taste for spicy sea slug entrails?
Want to try some organic Japanese cooking? Listen to some relaxing music? Maybe get away from the hustle and noise of Roppongi, Shibuya and Harajuku?
Onnoji, where the white-haired Mr. Endo speaks good English (in an unexpected baritone), sautés a delicious eggplant in miso, and pipes smooth jazz, might be a place worth trying. This is one of those innocuous, ten-chair dens, off the beaten path, moderately-priced, a place to drink, eat seasonal dishes and enjoy good vibes with friends. (What Japanese culture is about, right?) Instruments are available for guests to strum, if they wish to serenade a friend. Spontaneity is encouraged!
Beer, wine, shochu, scotch and bourbon all served.
Find Onnoji – slang which purportedly means “the very best thing” – just behind Araiyakushi-mae Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line, just three stops out from Takadanobaba Station on the Yamanote hoop.) Call after 3pm to ask Endo-san about the best route, and specials of the day, at: 070-6510-8615. Closed Tuesday.
And be patient – a good baritone takes a few seconds to warm up.