Thursday, June 24, 2010

島唄楽園 Shima-uta Rakuen

Shimauta-rakuen (島唄楽園) is a great Okinawan restaurant in Roppongi that co-workers had first taken me to, and I have since taken my big boss to because it is so yummy and unusual.

Okinawa has its own distinct culture and heritage (kind of like Hawaii in the US) and that includes food. They use ingredients that are not available anywhere else in Japan, like sea grapes (海ぶどう) and goya (ゴーヤ) and have funny names for their dishes too. "Rafty" (ラフティー) is pork belly (豚の角煮) and "chample" (チャンプル) means stir-fry. Okinawa is also known for an amazing and potent shochu called awamori (泡盛), and there is an extensive awamori and cocktail list here.

I arrived tonight to a raucous Okinawan performance by Nakasone Mitsuru-san (仲宗根充). The restaurant has live performances about twice per week (schedule). Most of their seating is family style communal tables and you pay 1000 yen cover for a seat where you can see the little stage. I was a little skeptical at first, since I had planned on a quiet dinner with a book, but I am so glad I got to experience this! Not only was it super fun and interactive with people getting on stage to sing and the whole room dancing, the people were incredibly welcoming and inclusive. I can't wait to visit Okinawa!

Btw, in addition to his musical talents, Nakasone-san runs a taxi service in Naha, Okinawa. I am so calling him when I visit!

The restaurant is on the 4th floor of a building on the big Roppongi corner of Roppongi-dori and Gaien-dori. Here's the g-navi site (Japanese)

〒106-0032 東京都港区六本木7-14-10 誠志堂ビル4F

No comments: