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Freshness Plus++ for Izakaya Batten

By: By Jeff Tjader, www.diningonokinawa.com

Date Posted: 2012-02-17

Batten (ばってん) is an Izakaya in Mihama, located behind the building next to Mac House on 58. It actually sits facing the side street parallel to Highway 58.

In the daytime they open for lunch, and that's a great time to go. It’s very popular with the ladies as they serve fresh, healthy and light options. Men will also appreciate it on days when they don’t want to eat too heavy. Due to its central location and consistent freshness there are many regular customers.

They have various seafood dishes from Chirashizushi and sushi sets to tempura sets and various fried or grilled seafood dishes. If you feel like splurging and really treating yourself, get the Batten Gozen. It is a large set meal (Teishoku) of mixed sashimi, a Nitsuke (vegetables and fish boiled in soy sauce) of sorts which includes Sanmainiku, Daikon, shrimp, spinach, Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), carrot, Goubo and fish. Also included in the set is a rich and fresh tasting Miso soup that will put anybody in a good mood with just a single whiff and a slurp once removing the lid to reveal its deep, dark and mystical beauty.

The Mozuku (a vinegary seaweed salad), Chawanmushi (egg custard containing shrimp and mushroom usually) and various pickled and fresh veggie accompaniments are as fresh and tasty as the rest of the meal. This set is ¥1,600 and well worth it (pictured below). You’d spend more than that at a Kaitenzushi (Sushi-go-round) and wouldn’t be as satisfied with taste or freshness.

During the season, they have fresh raw oysters (Nama Kaki). I had them a couple years back at 2 oysters for ¥600. They were pretty big though, compared to what you find at most American oyster bars. They serve them with a spicy minced Daikon, soy sauce and lemon; different from our typical lime/lemon and hot sauce condiments in the U.S. but just as satisfying and a nice change of pace. I recommend any raw oyster lover to try them in Japan.

At the end of your meal you get some comfortingly tasty and rich vanilla ice cream (semi-soft), which I believe to be homemade. When you order you’ll be asked if you want hot or cold coffee or tea, and if you’d like it then or later after your meal. I recommend enjoying the hot coffee with your ice cream. Their coffee is notably dark, strong and delicious on its own as well.

Payment can be made in yen or dollars, and credit cards can be used in the evening.

The Good

Batten serves up consistently delicious and fresh seafood daily. Service is friendly and wait times are short enough. You may wait upwards of 15 minutes if they’re packed (which they are often). But even that goes by quickly if you’re within an eye-shot of the wide open kitchen/prep area. You may enjoy or even prefer to sit at the bar directly in front of where they prepare the meals; it may be entertaining to take note of their technique and discuss with whomever you are eating with.

The Bad

As usual with many places in Okinawa– the parking! Get there early!

The Ugly

Absolutely nothing.

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