「ハンバーグ / クッキーアソート」 (Hamburg / Cookie Assort)
“Hamburg Steak / Assorted Cookies”
The relationship between Rokie and Arte was cute in how it started budding with their trip to Nekoya. What started as Rokie wanting to pay off his debt to Arte for saving his life ended up being a serene date to the mysterious cafe. It also ended on a good note with the two promising to meet up ever Satur to eat together. The show captures the slow beginning of a relationship very well in having the couple develop slowly as they hang out together and share wonderful food. It never felt like the couple was moving too fast, but that’s what makes it refreshing to see the segment end on the idea that they’ll have many Nekoya dates planned for the future.
The episode’s main dish is the Hamburg Steak, something that is familiar yet unique to me. The Americas have Salisbury Steak, which is the same concept with ground beef and gravy among other side dishes, but with some differences here and there. For the most part, the mix of spices, egg, milk, breadcrumbs combine to zazz up the Hamburg Steak while a gravy reduction helps boost the savoryness of the patty. Personally, I got extremely hungry when Rokie broke the egg yolk on the Hamburg. It was a little more than four years since I’ve first tried it, but a sunny-side up egg and a hamburger patty were meant for each other. I’m disappointed I haven’t discovered it sooner, but I’m glad I found it sooner than later.
This was Aletta’s time to shine! Right off the heels of contending with her new co-worker Kuro, she found a part-time job as the housekeeper for Sarah Gold, the fan of Nekoya’s Mince Meat Cutlet. Along the way she meets Sarah’s sister, Shia, who shows up to the house every so often to check up on her older sister. Tenshu was very supportive to Aletta, and got her some expensive cookies as a gift for being able to find a decent job on the side. Not only has Aletta learned how rewarding it is to get a decent job or payday, but she also learned about what it means to make delicious cookies. I’m surprised that it took this long to mention that there’s a bakery on top of the restaurant. I wonder how easy it is to access granted that there’s only a door in and out of Nekoya, and walking out the door means going back to their world. I’d assume it’s part of the human world, but why Aletta and Shia would have a difficult time getting up there if it exists in the real world too is a mystery. How does Tenshu get inside the bakery? I’m probably overthinking it, but it threw me off when Aletta was hesitant to answer Shia about where she got the cookies from. They were expensive cookies she got as a gift though, so I’d understand not wanting to push Shia to spend a fortune on cookies.
Shia was a great addition to the cast with her explanation on how the Gold family’s legacy lends itself to the role many human adventurers play in the series’ universe. It helped to see how the family history of those in the Gold family struck with a thirst for adventure at their own expenses gave Sarah a deeper purpose within the show as an adventurer as well as gave Shia a reason for concern. When Sarah’s life is on the line regularly, it would be reasonable for Shia to constantly check in on her to assure her safety out of concern for the family’s legacy catching up with Sarah sooner than she’d think. Luckily, the anxiety from the situation is tempered with some fresh cookies!
The first segment was on-par with many of the past segments with humans and species from far-off lands discovering Nekoya and the delicious food they offer. What I liked especially was the show’s approach towards their relationship where you can tell that there are budding feelings from Rokie and Arte, and they’re both on-board with learning more about each other, but opt to continue developing their bond through further Nekoya dates. The second half was also nice with more of Aletta’s perspective as she becomes more adjusted to her new life, and gains another part-time job for extra resilience. I was also enthused about seeing the show give more of a spotlight to Sarah through Shia’s inclusion and motives. While I would’ve loved to see the show go more in-depth with what kinds of cookies were made, their flavor, and their ingredients, it is understandable since they were made outside of Nekoya.
It was an honor to be able to cover Isekai Shokudou for a couple weeks. I was following the show closely, and really admired it as a cozy, warm anime with delicious looking food and pleasant short stories relating to those who passed through the restaurant’s door. I’m glad to have helped Zaiden out and cover the show while he was out and about. At the same time, I hope I did a good job at covering the two episodes using the post format he used on the previous episodes. It was a fun show to cover for the time being, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the remaining episodes come out. As for this week’s culinary journey, below the preview is a segment Zaiden sent over on the Katsu Curry from Coco Ichibanya.
Zaiden’s Bizarre Adventure:
Coco Ichibanya’s Katsu Curry
At Cherrie’s recommendation, having given me a list of wonderful places to eat in Tokyo, I decided to try out Coco Ichibanya. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a chain of curry houses reminiscent of fast food.
The branch I visited was in Ueno, and located around Yushima station. A moment’s deliberation, and I went for the beef katsu with a helping of vegetables. Also accompanied by an extra helping of rice, alongside spice levels tuned up to 8.
I can’t remember exactly what I was expecting, but I have to admit I was blown away. Where do I even start with the curry itself? All kinds of balance between savoury and sweet, rich and spicy. A harmonious combination of tastes that elevated me to a higher realm. And how could katsu be so crispy? Mind you, this even extended to the parts that were submerged in curry. They maintained a form and crunchiness that seemed to defy science. As for the heat, it was just outside my comfort zone. In other words, perfect. If you are eating something within your comfort zone, it may as well not be spicy.
Sadly, my words can do no justice in bringing the experience to summation. But that plate of curry sure was something!
Final Rating: 8.7/10 – I suspect there are probably better curry houses in Tokyo. However, I was more than impressed by my experience at Coco Ichibanya, and highly recommend it to anyone else who might visit Japan!