Sometimes the best things are when they are stumbled upon and unaccompanied by expectations. Among the sea of fine dining options that make up Ginza's reputation, we find this true gem of an izakaya (drinking establishment that serves food) that serves Okinawan food. Fine dining it is not, but good and affordable food and drinks here make good times.
We are led to the basement by a set of narrow stairs with walls filled with shochu bottles. Once at the basement, we open the door to the izakaya where a seemingly endless number of shochu bottles line the walls.
This place specializes in shochu cocktails as evidenced by the proud display of shochu varieties on the wall. We opt to stick with beer. We start with some Orion beer, an Okinawan beer, and then put in an order for some food to go with our drinks. At an izakaya, the general idea is that food accompanies the drinks rather than the drinks accompanying the food. A simple dish of cold tofu topped with tiny cured fish can be this satisfying. The tofu is unseasoned and just perfect to complement the cured fish. The purple yam croquette is every bit memorable with its outer fried layer that is more on the chewy crisp side instead of a light crisp. The yam inside is smooth and creamy. We can easily have a double order of the yam croquettes. We can't say no to purple yam. The other dish of whole fish is butterflied, resulting in a beautiful-looking fried fish with its curved shape. Whether the shape is artistically intentional or not, we do not know.
Little English is spoken here but we manage to get by with our basic knowledge of Japanese words with gesturing and pointing. They have an English menu but it does not represent the entire food selection from the Japanese menu. The Japanese menu has some pictures which are helpful. Towards the end of the meal we ask the server the name of the izakaya and he brings over the establishment's business card printed in Japanese. He then writes the romaji words (romanization of the Japanese language) "D Biru Okinawa" on the card. With these few romanized words we just learned, we now know the name to call this inconspicuous izakaya along the side streets of Ginza... the place where we can get a taste of Okinawa without traveling to the southernmost prefecture of Japan.
Asahi Building B1, 3-8-10, Ginza,
Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061