Hachitora is operated by the same owners as Munakata, but the style is significantly different. The “cool factor” and the use of Oya stone are about the only things they have in common. It’s East Side vs . West Side.
Hachitora is located in a very obvious location right outside the east exit of JR Utsunomiya, connected to the Daiwa Roynet Hotel. It has large windows so you can watch the staggering drunk salarymen toddle about outside–or you might get a more interior seat, or maybe you’ll choose to just pop in for a drink at the bar, who knows.
One thing on the drink menu stood out to me–matcha beer. Naturally I had to try it. I’ve had various infused beers before–mango, cilantro, banana, pineapple, coffee, you name it, especially with the craft boom going on–so I assumed it would be something like that. But not really. Their matcha beer is a nice ol beer with matcha powder thrown right in there. It’s a confusing taste, but it’s not bad. It’s not my favorite, but I’d get it again. The bitternesses (plural) are both very different flavors, but they mix together way better than you’d expect.
The food menu honestly had a lot that looked really appetizing. The group I was with decided to split some of the unagi (eel) tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), which was pretty good, and quite filling.
It took a while to get to us, but I also split one of their other more well-known novelty items: soba “grilled” on a traditional roof tile. I don’t know how else to explain this, so I’ll show you the picture first before I start talking about the details:
This is matcha soba brought sizzling on the literal roof tile (which is really hot, by the way). The soba doesn’t have any sauce on it, and it hasn’t been stir-fried beforehand. They just boil it, drain it, and stick it on the hot plate, so the bottom can get burned and stick if you’re not careful enough. They top it with some thin slices of pork, lemon, egg, and a vegetable-based condiment. Honestly, again, it’s not bad, but it wasn’t particularly delicious either. As far as matcha novelty goes, the beer wins this one. (To be honest, I can never tell the difference between normal soba and matcha soba anyways.)
Now for dessert. Two things caught our eye, so naturally, we order everything.
First is the matcha azuki toast. Honestly, this was fairly disappointing–something you could easily make at home for a fraction of the price. It’s just toast topped with a bit of matcha powder and mashed, sweet red beans. Eh.
The real winner, ladies and gentlemen, was the sweet potato tiramisu:
You see the picture. You see how much perfection this is. It’s amazing. It’s sweet. It’s not overbearing. It’s creamy and chunky and crunchy and everything. It’s one of the best desserts in Utsunomiya. All my willpower was wasted that night for not getting a second, personal one. To be mine. All mine.
All in all, I’d pop in again for a cool beer and a fabulous dessert. The other food is good too, but make sure you save room.