Had dinner at Sake Bar Hagi near Times Square last night. It was good food, a little greasy, but satisfying and a good base for the bottle of Towari buckwheat shochu we shared. It wasn't exactly a standout, but the ochazuke (tea-rice) we had was about as close as I've gotten so far to what I had in Tokyo.
I've learned from Maki of justhungry.com that the little round crispy things on top of the ochazuke I had in Tokyo were arare, tiny rice crackers. She has a good overall description of the dish in that post. As far as the cultural place of ochazuke, a couple of Japanese people have likened it to mac-n-cheese. It's warm, comforting, unpretentious. I suppose what I had in Tokyo was the equivalent of a truffled mac-n-cheese. Same unpretentious dish made fancy for a high-paying clientèle. Coming soon, a home attempt of this lovely little dish, just as soon as I get to a Japanese market.
ps. I chickened out on the chorizo-flavored Lahey bread mentioned in my last post. Rather, I'm currently doing the rise on a second attempt of the plain bread. It's just too risky to leave meat out overnight, however cured and spiced it is. Maybe I can figure out a way to stuff the Lahey bread with minced chorizo, though, for the last rise.