If you’re looking to impress someone on a date, this would be the perfect place to do it. This was my first thought when I entered the area, and I honestly expected everyone in the vicinity to be on dates; much to my surprise, there were a lot of people stopping by on their way home from work (this was on a weekday).
My reason for saying this is because of where the restaurant is located. Near Tobu and right in between Oodori and Union-Dori, it’s in a general location I’ve walked around and wandered through a myriad of times; however, it wasn’t until I went here with a friend after work that I knew of even its existence. It’s situated off a teeny tiny, unmarked path branching off of Nezumi-Ana-Dori (literally “Mouse Hole Street,” which couldn’t be more fitting), and you have to follow this lamp-lit stone footpath to the end, past another fancy-looking course restaurant to the establishment, which is actually in a fairly large, 2 story building with an open air kitchen area in the warmer seasons. I’ve even returned during the daytime to try and find that same footpath again and ended up wandering around for a while until Google helped me; it really is that much in-the-know.
While the food is nice, honestly the atmosphere of the immediate vicinity is what impressed me the most (I guess this is one of those “It’s not the end point, but the journey that counts” things). The interior is very Japanese, but not that breathtaking–pretty average and izakaya (Japanese-style pub)-like.
The food centers around Kyushu cuisine, so between me and my friend, we ordered a ginger tomato salad (which was better than expected), Hakata-style nabe gyoza, horse nigiri (raw horse on sushi rice), and tebasaki (chicken wings)–and these, ladies and gentlemen, were the winners of the night. The tebasaki were incredibly flavorful and addictive, so if you need to get anything, make sure you don’t miss them (they’re one of the specialties of the house as well, I believe).
A la izakaya, the food doesn’t come at the cheapest, but for what you’d expect. With a drink or two, be expected to pay about ￥3500 per person for a meal like this, but I would make sure you put it on your bucket list of Utsunomiya eats just for the short romantic stroll at night.
Open Monday – Saturday 5 pm – 12 am