Delicious and cozy "Furaibo"
"Furaibo": a small local eating/drinking place "izakaya" located in the heart of the Kakazu residential neighborhood in Ginowan.
Hmmm...how do I begin to describe Furaibo? Have you ever found that hole in the wall place, where anything goes? In English, the word Furaibo means something like a "vagabond", a "wanderer", or someone who "goes his own way." The owner of Furaibo, a retired chef, calls himself "oyaji san". Oyaji can mean "old man" or "pops" but it can mean much more colloquially. I remember one time sitting at the bar, and one of the local old timers (o ji chan) was sitting in his flip flop sandals picking his toe nails while at his bar stool. One of the local gals looked over at him, laughed, and said "oyaji". The connotation was this was something an old man would do and not care if someone saw him. I mention this story, because if you understand what "furaibo" and "oyaji" mean, you know what to expect from the owner and this little izakaya bar. No shirt, no shoes, and you still get service!
The atmosphere here is cozy, grass roots, back yard casual with lots of local island character. We call the owner Ken, short for Kenzuo. When you come here, get ready for cold beers, good food, and lots of conversation. Furaibo sits in the middle of a neighborhood, so the majority of the customers are locals in the community. When a newbie walks in, they are curious and want to know all about you and won't be shy asking you questions. It's such a friendly down to earth spot, don't be surprised if Ken stops cooking due to the amounts of awamori (Okinawan sake) he is drinking with his friends at the bar. He loves to talk with the customers, and make them feel at home. It is not uncommon in Japan for customers to buy the "master" (head sushi chef/owner) a drink, and I've never seen Ken turn down a drink! The typical plan for me is to order my food before he gets too over the edge! Don't worry, he has staff that know how to keep the kitchen going even if Ken settles in to help a customer finish his bottle of awamori.
Furaibo has real old style island cooking, and the menu is loaded with a variety of Japanese and Okinawan food. I love the grilled fish, oysters, and fresh vegetables. I also recommend the "o ni giri" (large rice balls with fresh salmon or miso wrapped in "nori" or dried seaweed paper), and the "te ba saki" chicken wings. These are meaty full sized chicken wings that have been marinated with a combination teriyaki and sesame sauce, then grilled and basted - tender and delicious! The most popular items on the menu are the big juicy yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick) and the sashimi (raw fish). Each day Ken offers fresh salmon, tuna, and a changing variety of fresh fish and sea food. For those that don't fancy Japanese or Okinawan food, Ken is always willing to create a dish for you. The other day I had him make me some pan fried potatoes with bacon, asparagus, fresh spinach and chopped green onions and butter~tasty!
Come visit and pull up a bar stool and talk to Ken.You'll enjoy the good times. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, this place is very inexpensive!