The Restaurant from Hell


In the nearly six years I’ve lived in this neighborhood, I’ve been to this second floor restaurant three times. Each time it has been reincarnated: different name, somewhat different menu, slightly different decor. Each time it has been horrible. In my wide-eyed innocence, I keep expecting it to improve. I tried it once when we first moved to this neighborhood. I don’t remember what was so horrible, only that I kept reminding myself not to return. But two years ago, it changed hands and I blithely tried it again. I wrote about it at the time. Don’t read this if you have a weak stomach: Burger Blues

Not long ago, it transformed into a steak house.I donned my rose-colored glasses and climbed the stairs. I should have turned tail and fled when the water glass was made of plastic.

water glass

The steak arrived on a sputtering cast iron pan, a good start, I innocently thought. I took a bite. It was rubbery, half raw, served on a bed of bean sprouts, flanked by a tiny pile of humiliated canned corn, and accompanied by a plate of plain, sticky, white rice. Don’t get me wrong–sprouts are really tasty that way, and Japanese rice is delicious, but steak is meant to be served with potatoes. End of story. I left the restaurant full but with that half empty feeling you get when you know what you want but don’t get it.

Lessons learned:

  1. Even after nearly 30 years of living in Japan, I still have a Western bias about certain things.
  2. If I want authentic Western food, I have to make it myself.
  3. That building is cursed. Perhaps the bodies of innocent children are buried in its foundation or its constructed on an ancient Ainu burial ground. Whatever the reason, the universe clearly dislikes the property and it should be avoided.

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