I love dining at izakayas, Japanese bars, which are great fun - there's always good sake on offer, or some shochu; and there's a bustling atmosphere all the time.
Uoshin has many branches around Tokyo, located in high-traffic areas such as Shibuya and Shimokitazawa. I was at the Shimo branch after a day of visiting many boutiques in the area. It was a really bustling atmosphere - almost full-house that we almost couldn't get a table, but thankfully there were only 2 of us so after a while we were ushered into the counter area to have a seat.
The menu was in Japanese so we couldn't read a thing; there was an English menu but it didn't list the seasonal specials (understandably). Thankfully though, there was a Japanese father-and-son party next to us who helpfully explained the dishes to us. They were a joy to talk to - that's what I like about izakayas, you get to talk to random people next to you over some sake and shochu and that's where the fun is about. Things got interesting when I asked whether they had "juyondai" and the "son", presumably a sake lover, was surprised that I even knew about the brand.
I ordered some sake, and some sashimi to start with. Uoshin is run by a seafood supplier and therefore their seafood is of top quality. Everything was decent, fresh; sweet scallops, especially; and some other lovely fish. Unfortunately, it could not match the top quality of a high-end sushi restaurant with its meticulously seasoned and prepared fish, but this was not bad already.
We had two platters - the "normal" version and the "special" one. Go for the special one, which comes with a greater variety of fish and some uni as well.
There was a kinki fish that we ordered; it was delicious. It had really tender flesh, and it was full of 'fish oils' simmered lightly in shoyu. Can't get enough.
And a grilled shioyaki head. Again - lots of tender meat in the crevices of the fish head. It's juicy, tender, and flavourful with light grilling.
Spring vegetables is in season now; fresh shoots announcing the start of spring. This was lightly battered, and tasted real good.
Uoshin's a really dependable place and worthy of a visit. It's good value for money as well, with loads of delicious sakes too.