Up on one wall of Kachashi is a small TV which, on the night I went, was showing an Okinawan dance performance on video that, regretfully, blasted rather loudly. I can't say for sure but I'm guessing that the show is a constant, meant to create atmosphere - as are the various paraphernalia hanging on the walls and the purple and yellow Okinawan garb that the staff wear. Though it may seem that Kachashi is trying a little too hard to look Okinawan, it could also be a reflection of the Okinawan sentiment that proudly distinguishes itself from "mainland" Japan.
s we browsed the picture menu, little dishes of stir-fried bean sprouts were set before us to accompany our drinks: Orion beer (JY500) and awamori sake, both from Okinawa. The Orion is fairly straightforward stuff whose popularity has more to do with that Okinawan loyalty to home than anything else. The awamori is quite special. Although it too is made from rice, it has none of the sweetness of regular sake. Awamori has a drier flavor that is closer to brandy but goes down as smooth as ice water - part of its dangerous appeal.
Kachashi has a fairly extensive selection of awamori with prices ranging from JY380 to JY650 per glass, and you can have it with ice, or with hot or cold water. There is also a cocktail that mixes the sake with the juice of the shikuasasawa - a citrus fruit that looks like a tiny, green orange - for JY500.
To start, we had Hirayachi (JY500), a puffy crepe striped with green onion and pink, pickled ginger, served with a dollop of mayonnaise in the middle.
Our salad - a little shredded lettuce, cucumber and tomato - was nothing more than lining in the bowl for the large chunks of rafuti (JY900), pork simmered in shoyu, sugar, awamori and bonito flakes until it is tender and has fully absorbed all the flavors.
Okinawan food has Chinese influences and Kachashi's menu has several stir-fries, or champuru, to choose from. We ordered the Goya Champuru (JY650), a traditional dish with the much-loved goya (bitter gourd), scrambled eggs and flecks of pork sausage.
A large bowl of Okinawan soba in a pork-bone broth (JY850) was filled to the brim with wide-ribbon noodles garnished with pickled ginger, a little patch of green onions, morsels of rafuti in the center and paper-thin slices of Okinawan fish cake that is very Chinese in flavor - more savory than the candy pink and white-ringed pieces usually found in Japanese noodle soup. A dash of spicy kooreegusu (little chubby chili peppers floating in awamori) with a faint vinegar nip and heady fragrance of sake transformed my steaming bowl of soup into an aromatherapeutic experience.