吉葉 ちゃんこ 両国
Ryogoku is the sumo area of Tokyo, and is home to the national sumo stadium, or Kokugikan.
The cuisine most closely associated with sumo is chankonabe, a very generous stewed hotchpotch dish designed to add bulk to a sumo wrestler's frame.
I recently went to a chankonabe restaurant in Ryogoku that not only serves this famous dish, but is a former sumo stable. How trad can you get?
Yoshiba is in a grand old building whose facade solidly proclaims its history as home to those ultimate manifestations of gravitas, sumo wrestlers. The interior preserves the original layout, making for a unique restaurant space that centers around a still usable dohyo (the sumo ring).
The very high ceiling adds to that sense of spaciousness and, combined with a big stained glass portrayal of a sumo wrestler beside the kitchen, gives it an almost church-like quality.
However, there is nothing stuffy about Yoshiba. The service is down-to-earth, friendly and attentive. It is a popular place, so there are enough guests to fill up the space and keep it at a low, warm buzz.
In spite of being a chanko restaurant, Yoshiba serves more than just chanko-nabe. The set lunch menu features mainly fish, and is priced from about 900 to 2000 yen. I went for the 1,800 yen sushi and tempura set, with a choice of having the sushi nigiri (block-style, as you usually see) or chirashi (literally, "scattered"). I went for chirashi.
Forget the petiteness of typical Japanese restaurant fare. The set was huge! It was all I could do to get through it, and I get the feeling it will see me safely through to tomorrow morning's breakfast!
Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0015
Tel 03 3623 4480 (only Japanese spoken)
Hours: 11:30 a.m.- 1.30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays and public holidays.
Yoshiba chankonabe restaurant website
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