It had been a long but productive and congenial morning meeting with my Dentsu Tokyo colleagues. To celebrate, I asked them to lunch -- and they decided to take me to a very popular place among Dentsu kaishain (employees) of a certain age, that is.
This is the small and rather unobtrusive entrance to Ikeda. Before the current Dentsu building in Shiodome was built in 2002, Ikeda was very near the old Dentsu offices in the Higashiginza area. Thus, anyone over the age of 40 would certainly have had quite a number of lunches, dinners and after-office beers at this place.
Today, younger employees have never even heard of it.
Aside from being a restaurant cum izakaya, Ikeda is also quite well known because its owner is a famous reiki practitioner. They call him "Mr Power Hands". Reiki is the Japanese technique of stress relief and healing by the laying of hands. For a few thousand yen, the owner will come up to you for 5 minutes of healing. He has his photos on the wall with testimonials from his "patients".
While I would have wanted to meet Mr. Power Hands, we were here to have a late lunch and we were all famished -- perhaps the healing hands can be experienced some other time. I looked at the rather well worn plastic bound menu but I needn't have bothered -- it was all in Japanese.
In the end, my colleagues ordered the same thing for all of us -- the basic salaryman's lunch, what Ikeda is well known for and what they said all Dentsu kaishain over forty at one point in time had for a regular meal.
This is the yurinchi setto. Yurinchi is fried chicken -- lightly floured chicken breasts, deep fried, sliced into strips and served with a mild soy and sweetish vinegar sauce.
It was utterly delicious and reminded me of a milder, less oily karaage.
The yurinchi setto came with a small salad with a citrusy vinaigrette, the omnipresent miso soup and some crunchy tsukemono.
I tried hard to avoid the bowl of hot fragrant sticky japanese rice but it went so well with the tasty yurinchi, it would have been a shame to leave it in the bowl.