First I thought it was a donburi place, then a normal izakaya, then a ramen shop, and it turns out I was wrong every time. Marutomo is a yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant that specialized in horumon, or ~various entrails~. Despite my aversion to chewy meats, I actually enjoy horumon, and hadn’t had it in quite a while.
Unfortunately, yakiniku is normally meant to be shared among at the very least 2 people; fortunately, this place can easily accommodate one person, as they have a ramen shop-esque bar and mini grills. I decided to get the 3-type assortment horumon as well as their half-and-half beer (a literal mix of a stout and the standard Kirin beer).
I was first served an appetizer of mediocre, slightly pickled cabbage (and looking at my receipt, a table charge of ￥300…sighs all around) and then shortly my beer (￥490) which was a very good idea, even though I’m not a fan of Kirin. I like stouts so-so, but I get tired of the flavor fairly quickly. Mixing it with a lighter pilsner-ish beer was a perfect balance; the first few sips taste like a light stout, then as you drink more and become accustomed to the flavor, the stout-ness goes away, but never fear! It comes back after you take a break from drinking it for a bit and focus on food.
My meat arrived pre-marinated along with a mini grill placed right on my bar area (although it was big enough that I wondered what they did when they were crowded with a lot of customers, because with the grill, cabbage, meat dish, bucket of ice to put out the coals later, and beer, I was taking up about three seats worth of space).
To be totally honest, I’m not entirely sure what type of horumon I was eating. Based on what they suggested on their menu and looking at the pictures, I think it was beef skirt steak, pork skirt steak, and beef rectum, but to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. As gross as that (i.e. the latter) sounds, they were actually all super good and perfectly marinated–no dipping sauces needed. The thing about horumon yakiniku is that I’m never sure when it’s cooked through, as I rarely eat yakiniku anyways and intestines are a bit less obvious than normal muscle cuts, but I think I did a good enough job. Each cut had 3 pieces of each, which was the perfect amount for a main dish for me. Each was, as expected, very chewy (especially the last mystery meat), which slowed down the eating process and made me feel full even though eyeballing it, it didn’t look like too significant an amount. The meat assortment was ￥900.
I would maybe totally recommend going to this place if it weren’t for the ￥300 table charge for a dish that was most certainly not worth ￥300; I was also a bit disgruntled after learning that when you put out the coals, you are not supposed to dump the vessel of ice directly over the grill because then angry ash will shoot up all over the table and give you 1st degree burns that will sting like hell until the next morning (whoops). What I had expected to be about ￥1500 was actually closer to ￥1900 as they didn’t include tax in the menu prices, either. I would say I’d go for lunch then, but they’re not open at that time, so phooey. So then maybe go and binge as a once-in-a-while treat, then, because the food and beer I ordered was good.