I've made it over the last hurdle of the summer: my school's second sleep away camp. Added to the long days and superhuman energy expenditures required, this camp was a challenge for me because (as I mentioned a few posts back) I had to bring all of my own food for the 3 days. It turned out quite well as there was a fridge and microwave in the dining area, and a dish soap and sponge equipped sink nearby to wash my dish. My meals consisted of those ready to eat Indian curries, tofu burger patties, bread, natto, and a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. The kids got such a kick out of seeing me eat fruit and veggies as is, as it's pretty well unheard of in Japan. The (non-vegetarian) meals provided by the camp were popular enough with the kids, but the other teachers were pretty unimpressed. A lot of my coworkers were wishing they had brought their own stash too!
Back in Tokyo, with a day off to relax before heading back to a regular class schedule, I thought it was about time to do another restaurant post. I'd never been to Nagi Shokudo before, but I'd heard good things. My trusty Japan Vegan Restaurant Pocketguide said it's quite popular, and reviews on Happy Cow are positive. The restaurant has a relaxed vibe, completed by an array of knick knacks as decoration, books and zines around to peruse, and interesting musical selections. Half of the dining space is a raised platform for low Japanese table style dining, and the other half standard tables and chairs.
I was inclined to order the 2 person dinner set, as they tend to be crowd pleasers, and as they often move faster than other menu items, tend to be fresh. A-chan thought the set looked a little heavy on the karaage type fried items, so we ordered a selection of other menu items. The stir fried cucumber and yam (nagaimo) (350¥) turned out to be rather disappointing. It lacked flavor and the several of the nagaimo pieces were staring to go bad. The plate of sliced tomatoes and avocado with tofu mayo (350¥) were nothing to write home about, but not bad either. We tried their eggplant and mushroom curry (480¥) next. It had a nice flavor, but quite watery in texture. The ratatouille was reasonably tasty and I had no complaints about the brown rice (actually genmai), pickles and miso soup set (350¥)... except perhaps that you only get two tiny slices of pickles. The tastiest item we ordered was definitely the falafel with tofu sour sauce, perhaps not coincidentally also the only deep fried item we had. Maybe we should have gone for the 2 person dinner set after all!
Other than not being all that impressed with the food, I should mention that A-chan found the interior of the place quite unappealing. She said the washroom and the open kitchen looked pretty dirty, the utensils and menu had seen better days and the decor looked more like an oddly decorated house than a restaurant. In my eyes, the place just looked relaxed and a bit quirky, and I didn't find it dirty. But hey, I'm someone who eats food that falls on the floor, so I tend to be quite relaxed about such things. Overall, given the wealth of great veggie food options in Tokyo, Nagi Shokudo is not going on my list of places to return to, though if I did end up back there, I'd like to give the dinner or (well reviewed) lunch set a try.
menu: In Japanese and often oddly translated English
おすすめ / recommendation: falafel with tofu sour sauce, plus I hear the lunch plates are yummy
good points: relaxed setting, zines available for your reading pleasure if that's your kinda thing
bad points: the food was so-so overall and sometimes not very fresh
Address: 15-10-103 Uguisu Dani-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
It's about 10 minutes walk from the South exit of Shibuya station.