Saturday, January 27, 2007

9. Cafe/Bar Review: Yasai Sakaba

Up the hill from Shimokitazawa Station's north exit, across from the 'Waffle Cafe' and the 'North Side Cafe', is the 'Yasai sakaba.' It is a long, slender cafe with a covered patio, open on the front. Unless you can read hiragana, you won't be able identify the cafe by its name. No problem, just look for a cluster of large barrels covered by a dark green umbrella. On the barrels is a display of delicious lunch specials. This is THE place to eat in Shimokitazawa if you want an inexpensive, low calorie, super healthy, Japanese style lunch. In fact, 'Yasai' means vegetable and 'saka' ,is the alcohol - sake, and 'ba' is place.

The best deal is their vegetable plate. A large white plate, divided into sections, is full of interesting things to eat. Miso soup and rice are included, all for just 700 yen. If you are worried about what you might get, be sure to take a close look at the display in front before you order. In fact, figure out what you want before entering the cafe. The menu is entirely in Japanese, and there are lots of kanji.

I've eaten the vegetable plate before, it was excellent. This visit I had lightly breaded pieces of maguro (tuna), rice, salad, and miso soup, for 800 yen. I added a decent sized glass of red wine for 350 yen. Happily, the wine was served room temperature. I will be back to eat the maguro again someday, it was very tasty.
On the patio of 'Yasai sakaba' are two tables for four, and five tables for two. Definitely try to sit at one of these if you can. Inside are two long wood counters with lots of stools, and in the very back, a couple of regular tables. Hip, but mellow 'J-Pop' was playing in the background (UA, Hikaru Utada, Bonnie Pink,...). Service was very fast, and the staff was friendly.

Lunch is served from 11:30 to 15:00 during the week, and until 3:30 on weekends and holidays. Dinner is served from 17:00 to 23:30, seven days a week. They are closed on Wednesdays.

Address: Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-25-10.
Phone number: 03-5454-0005.

I definitely recommend eating here, especially if you are in the mood for lunch and dessert. When I eat lunch here, I follow with some shopping, and then stop somewhere else later for sweet snack. I don't feel guilty, and I get to really enjoy what Shimokitazawa has to offer!