After yesterday’s fiasco, we decided to play it safe and went to what can only be called a “lunch counter” today. It’s a tiny place, run by what I assume is a couple and their two sons. Its single counter looks into the open kitchen, where dad does the cooking using pots and pans encrusted with many years worth of blackened, baked-on grease, the kind of cookware I grew up with and loved.
Mom and number one son are also stationed behind the counter. Number two son, a very large man, is the waiter. He can barely squeeze between the wall and the seated customers, and utters a litany of, “Excuse me, pardon me, I’ll just pass behind you,” as he hands out glasses of water and plates brimming with food.
The cooking is pseudo Western. I had fried oysters and a jumbo shrimp, which came on a small mountain of shredded cabbage next to a pile of spaghetti salad, accompanied by a plate of white rice and miso soup with tiny clams in it. The frying oil may have been a bit past prime, but the fish was fresh and I’ve never had a better miso soup. The meal was filling, satisfying and reasonably priced.
I think the problem with yesterday’s place is that it’s trying to be something fancier than it is. Today’s place is humble and knows it. And there’s not a thing in the world wrong with that.