Come for the fried food and alcohol, stay for the traditional Japanese winter comfort cuisine.
So let’s say you’ve just treated yourself to a dinner of unlimited crab and ridiculously cheap cocktails in Tokyo. No matter how much shellfish and booze you’ve consumed, by that time tomorrow night, you’re going to be hungry and sober again, right?
Located in the Tokyo neighborhood of Asagaya is a place that can help with both of those problems. Called Den Den Kushi, the restaurant specializes in two of the pillars of casual Japanese cuisine: kushiage and oden, meats and vegetables prepared as deep-fried skewers or stewed morsels in broth, respectively.
Den Den Kushi is found on a narrow street of bars and restaurants called Icho Koji (“Gingko Tree Alley”), located near the south gate of Asagaya Station. It’s old school atmosphere alone would have been enough to draw us in, but even without that, we would have been convinced to step inside by the sign advertising the “Asagaya Fever” special, which costs just 1,600 yen (US$14), or 1,700 yen after tax.
Calling it the Asagaya Fever isn’t just some empty puffery, as the extremely affordable deal gets you all the kushiage and oden you can eat, as well as an unlimited number of mixed alcoholic drinks, for 90 minutes. All-you-can-drink draft beer can be added to the beverage selection for an additional 500 yen.
▼ A giant bottle of shochu, plus plenty of mixers.
Customers on the Asagaya Fever plan mix their own drinks and pour their own beer from the tap. You also procure your own oden, grabbing whatever you’d like from the wooden-lidded container.
▼ Tofu, egg, daikon radish, and konnyaku gelatin
The oden is extremely flavorful, and also great for fighting off the chill in the air that sets in once the sun goes down at this time of year in Tokyo.
While you’re grabbing your own drinks and oden, Den Den Kushi’s owner will be busy frying up stick after stick of kushiage. On our visit, we munched on standards like pork, eggplant, and chicken, and also elegantly unorthodox Camembert cheese kushiage.
However, don’t take this to mean that Den Den Kushi’s generosity is unlimited. The owner informed us that there would be a one million yen (US$8,850) fine for every piece of uneaten food or unfinished drink. We’re not sure how serious he was, but thankfully everything tasted so good that we had no trouble finding room for everything during our 90 minutes of dining bliss.
Den Den Kushi / でんでん串
Address: Tokyo-to, Suginami-ku, Asagaa Minami 3-37-5, Konno Building 1st floor
Open 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
[ Read in Japanese ]
Follow Casey on Twitter, where it’s been a long time since he stayed until closing at a restaurant that’s open until 2 in the morning.
[ Read in Japanese ]