/

Otako

Founded in 1923, it isn’t the oldest oden shop in Tokyo — that honor is generally ascribed to the 101-year-old Otafuku across town in Asakusa — but it is certainly among the most popular. You can tell by the clientele it attracts. From middle-aged couples out on low-key dates and humble salarymen eking out their yen all evening to executives in well-tailored suits slumming it for few short minutes with off-duty hostesses from the nearby Ginza bars, the variety is nothing but eclectic. But all are drawn in by the same promise: the aromatic lure of classic Japanese comfort food. Slide Otako’s door open and wait your turn until a seat opens up at the long counter that runs down one side of the dining room. If you can, install yourself in front of the pans and watch the chef at work, deftly lifting out the oden ingredients, slicing and arranging each order on the plate.