Wednesday, September 19, 2007

63. Cafe/Bar Review: Sorga

Sorga is a really lovely Asian cafe that just opened in July. Run by a young couple, the atmosphere is pure Southeast Asian. The interior is white with dark chocolate brown wood and deep green plants. Everything fits with the theme, ash trays, light fictures, even the air conditioner is hidden by a wooden screen. The music varies, from Bosa Nova to R&B to International instrumental.
There is a long booth on a side wall, with four tables for four and three tables for two. There are two more tables for four against the other wall, and there are four bar stools near the kitchen. In the front of the cafe is a small shop selling Asian pottery and goods. Once inside, I really felt I had been carried far away from the busy, noisy street just out front.
There are three lunch specials each day; a 'curry', a 'plate', or a 'bowl'. They come with soup or salad and a drink for 880 yen. The day I was there the curry was chicken and cheese in a tomato base. The plate was marinated pork with rice, and the bowl dish was something with salmon and avacado.
I chose the pork with rice. It was delicious. They only thing I wish had been different was the side it came with. I would have prefered a vegetable to the tuna salad that was presented. I chose a salad and an ice coffee to go with my meal. All in all, well worth 880 yen.
Sorga has a much more extensive menu in the evening, including a full bar. My husband and I did stop in again for drinks and some snacks, we ended up having dinner as well. Everything was tasty and very reasonable.

Phone: 03-3419-3619
Address: Daizawa 3-1-15. Sorga is about 15 minutes walk from Shimokitazawa Station, on the main street that heads to Shibuya, just beside the Setagaya walking trail, and across from Gyu-kaku.

Hours of Operation: 11:30 am - 2:00 am, closed on Mondays.

All Japanese, but with photos:
The menu is also only in Japanese, but with lots of katakana.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

62. Chain Restaurant Review: Cocoro

Cocoro, which means 'spirit / heart / mind', is a soup curry chain restaurant from Sapporo. The interior is more upscale than most curry places, the Shimokita branch has white brick and dark wood walls, with matching tables decorated with cute, miniature plants. When I was there, mellow English R&B was playing in the background.Along one wall is a long booth chair for four tables for 4. There are four tables for 2, two of them overlook the front window, and one regular table for 4. There is also a bar counter, which overlooks the kitchen, with about five seats. The main downside to Cocoro is that there isn't a non-smoking section.

The menu is all in English, but there are some pictures and most descriptions are in katakana. Ordering is a little complicated, though. Choose a curry, then the spice level, rice size - sm, med, lg, or extra large (extra large is 150 yen extra), and rice type (regular or genmai).

There are about 15 different varieties to choose from, all of which are full of vegetables, and which cost 800 to 1000 yen. Examples include: Pork & Spinach, Cabbage & Bacon, Ravioli,... I choose a curry that boasted 14 different vegetables. It was lunchtime so I also ordered the lunch set, which includes a lassi drink and choice of salad or dessert, for an extra 150 yen.

I was very impressed with the curry. The flavor was wonderful and the vegetables were cooked just right. Incredibly healthy and delicious at the same time!

In addition to the curry, there are a few side items available: cold tomato slices (280 yen), Caesar salad (280 yen), and a spicy chicken wing (320). Drinks include coffee, tea, chai, draft beer, and lassi - plain or flavored (mango, lychee, tropical fruit), and are between 180 and 380 yen.

Hours of Operation: 11:00 - 22:00

Phone: 03-5424-3561
Address: Kitazawa 2-34-8, KM Bld. 1Fl. 4 minute walk from the north exit of Shimokita Station. Check this website for a map.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

61. Cafe Review: Wa Cha Cha

Wa Cha Cha is a cute little cafe that specializes in traditional Japanese sweets.

The interior is white and lime green, with light beige tables and chairs. Located on the 2nd floor, a large window looks out over the quiet alley below. A long white bench seat sits below the windows, in line with 5 tables for two. There are only two other tables for two in the cafe. A magazine rack is up against the back wall, and light Japanese pop plays in the background. The atmosphere is light and airy, with tiny cactus in the windows. If they cleared up the clutter near the kitchen window, it would be just right.
In addition to regular coffee and tea, there are lots of drinks based on green tea and/or sweet azuki beans, all from 450 to 600 yen.
If you like traditional Japanese sweets, this is the place for you! Desserts run from 650 to 800, and they are pretty fancy. They even offer some cool 'combination' plates if you care to sample a variety of traditional sweets at one time. A great choice for visiting foreigners who have never tried them before. I recommend sharing a plate.
In the summer then have flavored shaved ice (strawberry, mizure, yuzu,...) for 550 to 600 yen. Add milk for 50 yen, azuki beans or soft serve ice cream for 100 yen. I had yuzu shaved ice. The portion was large and very refreshing. Yuzu jam is used as flavoring.
There are also some Japanese lunch specials to choose from, all are 'donburi' (over rice in a bowl). Mentaiko (fish egg) and avocado; mixed vegetable and egg; kinoko mushroom and chicken; cabbage and a type of fish with mayonnaise; and chicken, onion, and egg. There is also a tofu hamburger plate. All lunches are 850 yen. A drink can be added for 150 - 300 yen, depending on your choice. A mini dessert set is an extra 300 yen (soft serve ice cream or 'anmitsu').

The menu is totally in Japanese, but there are pictures of the fancy desserts, and most drinks are in katakana. Two nice, but shy young ladies were running the place. I am happy to note they filled my water glass about 4 times without me having to ever ask.

Location: South side of Shimokitazawa Station. Across from Kitchen Ripple, down the small alley in front of Robber Gabriela and the burger joint. Stores called 'Torse' and 'Glimmer' are on the corner.

Hours of Operation: 12:00 to 20:00.

Friday, August 10, 2007

60. Bar & Restaurant Review: Seven Colors

Seven Colors is one of those places that only opens up for lunch to pull in a few customers while preparations are being made for nighttime. The day I was there, nobody came in except for a man delivering alcohol.

Seven Colors is definitely a 'night spot'. The atmosphere is very dark, with dark brown walls and floor, a black ceiling, and mostly black furniture (with a few touches of burgundy). There are no standard tables, mostly comfortable sofas with coffee tables. A few European posters decorate the walls and bosa nova was playing in the background. There is a large flat screen TV on one wall, Japanese MTV was on during my visit. A large open space is off to one side for those who want to play darts, and it probably doubles as a stage for live music.
In the back of the room is a well stocked, and nicely organized bar. Alcoholic drinks are 650 - 800 yen, soft drinks, coffee,... 500 - 600 yen, and desserts 500 - 550 yen.

The food menu includes a variety of snacks (popcorn, chips, french fries, shrimp in a mayonnaise sauce,...) all 500 - 700 yen. There is a variety of pasta 800 - 900 yen each (or half orders for 500 - 600 yen), both Japanese and Western style. I had bacon in a tomato cream sauce, it was good. I was disappointed that there were no lunch sets, so nothing came with my pasta. I ordered an iced peach tea to go with it.

Also on the menu are some rice bowl dishes (Ghengis Khan, Chashu, Tsukune, Saikoro - don), all 800 yen, half for 500 yen. There was also curry or salad udon for 750 yen, and a Caesar or mixed salad for 800 yen, half 500 yen.

It was too hot the day I was there, but outside there are a few umbrella-covered tables on a small balcony.

I wouldn't recommend Seven Colors for lunch, the staff wasn't that friendly to me, and they weren't very attentive (they never came over to see if I wanted another tea although I finished it early in my meal, I had to ask them for water,...). And, to be price competitive, they should have some lunch sets. Perhaps they should just stick to evenings.
Hours of Operation: 12:00 to 5:00am.

Address: Kitazawa 2-14-2, JOW3 Building, 3rd floor (take the elevator up). It is on the main street outside of the south exit of Shimokitazawa Station, a clothing shop is on the first floor.

59. Restaurant Review: Goemon

Goemon is a 'Japanese' pasta restaurant. What does that mean? Well, it means that no matter what type of pasta you order, you have to eat it with chopsticks! And, if you decide to order a set, the soup is a clear Japanese flavored broth, and the salad is shredded daikon (Japanese radish) with lettuce and bacon bits, in a light Japanese dressing. To add to the Japanese flavor, all dishes are traditional pottery and everything is served on a black lacquer 3/4 moon tray.

All of the pastas, however, are not Japanese style (with seaweed, fish eggs,...). Half are Japanese and half are 'Western'. I ordered a fresh tomato and mozzarella cheese with basil in a tomato base, it was very tasty. It was, however, impossible to eat without a little bit of splatter (don't wear white).

I ordered the 'Ladies Set', which allowed for the choice of any pasta, plus soup, salad, and drink (I had iced Oolong tea) for 1350 yen.

The colors in Goemon are deep green, light brown, and a bright orange. It is very clean and clutter-free. There is an 'L' shaped counter facing an open kitchen. The kitchen is very organized and there is lots of stainless steel. There are also about 16 tables for two (that can be converted into larger tables if necessary). All chairs are high-backed, dark green and black. Jazz plays in the background.

Seats at the bar counter are a little warm due to spotlights located overhead. They are also considered part of the smoking area.

The menu is all in Japanese, but there are pictures of every dish and many descriptions are in katakana. Ordering ala carte, most pastas cost about 1000 yen. There is a 'Men's Set' (I think the portion is larger), and a set that includes a dessert. There is also a large display of 'fake' food at the entrance. Although the Italian/Japanese combo seemed a little odd to me, I felt the set was a lot healthier than the equivalent at a purely Italian restaurant. No tempting garlic bread on the menu. So, I guess I would recommend Goemon if you want a 'healthy choice' pasta lunch.

Goemon is located out the south exit of Shimokitazawa, just a little ways down from Starbucks, on the right side of the street, 2nd floor (across from ABC Shoes).

Thursday, August 9, 2007

58. Chain Restaurant Review: Tsukiji Sushiko

Tsukiji Sushiko is your standard sushi shop. There is a long counter with chairs facing the sushi chefs, plus a number of regular tables. Order piece by piece, or from a number of sets. Individual pieces fall into price categories of: 50, 110, 160, 210, 270, 320, 370, and 400 yen.

There is no English on the menu, but almost everything is written in hiragana and katakana. If you know your sushi, it won't be a problem.

There are a handful of cooked items on the menu, although we didn't order anything except miso soup (of which there are some choices).

The chef who waited on us was very friendly and professional. My husband and I will eat here again.

Address: Kitazawa 2-3-12. Located on the left side of Chazawa Street, if you are heading toward the town hall. (*There are also over 20 other locations around the city)
Phone: 03-5486-0505

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

57. Shop Review: Fizz

Fizz is one of those shops where you won't buy anything, but you should at least take a look. It will be a walk down memory lane. Although it advertises itself as "unisex good taste clothes, accessories, and goods", 99% of what they sell targets ladies. There is a very interesting selection of dresses - mostly thrift store 60's and 70's styles. I didn't see any sizes above an American 6. They also have costume jewelry, hats, belts, some shoes, scarves,... I was particularly surprised to see the collection of 'string art' on the wall, and the tiny plaid suitcases (of which I had when I was a child). The only think I saw to interest men were the Hawaiian shirts out front.Hours of Operation: 12:30 - 20:30

Location: A short walk from the north exit of Shimokita Station. It is close to the Odakyu line tracks, just around the corner from Mos Burger.

Address: 1F 2-32-8, Kitazawa, Setagaya 155-0031
Phone: 03-3468-4601

56. Cafe Review: K's Cafe

K's Cafe's sign says, "The place for developing international friendships". Don't let that scare you off. It is just a regular cafe that welcomes foreigners.

The interior is peach with dark wood accents and light wood tables. It is nicely decorated, and there is no clutter. In the summer it is a cool oasis; a great place to people watch, drink something tasty, and enjoy the mellow jazz that plays in the background.

Along the front window are 7 stools overlooking the shopping alley below. There are also 3 regular tables for two, one table for four, and a small sofa with a coffee table. The cafe also displays the work of a local artist, mostly cutesy postcards.

Before you enter, take a good look at the menu outside and decide what you want. The menu is in Japanese, with a good bit of English. Order and pay as soon as you enter, sit down, they will prepare your food and drinks, and then bring them to you. Don't worry about your dishes afterwards, they'll take care of them.

Food Menu
Cinnamon toast / French toast with ice cream 550
Green salad 500 / Tomato salad 550
Pizza toast / Bawloo sandwich / Omelette sandwich 550 (come with salad)
Chicken cutlet sandwich / Teriyaki chicken hamburg steak sandwich 600 (come with salad)

Drink Set: add coffee or tea (hot/ice) for 300. If you add 150, you can choose any drink except alcohol.
Drink and Cake Set: add coffee or tea (hot/ice) and dessert of the day 450.

Special Lunch Set: Cheese toast or scrambled eggs + toast, salad, fruit, coffee or tea 650
+200 for the dessert of the day

Homemade Cake Menu
Gateau chocolate / Baked white chocolate cheese cake / Homemade Pudding / Vanilla ice cream / Affogato (ice cream with espresso) / Banana cake / Fruit yoghurt
*Chose the two sweets you like! ¥500 (One\300)

Special Cake Sets: Your three favorite desserts + choice of drink 1100
*Four favorite desserts + choice of drink 1300

Hot Drinks:
Coffee ¥450
Espresso single ¥350
Hot Dutch coffee / espresso double ¥500
Coffee latte / cappuccino ¥550
Cafe mocha ¥600
*Latte with syrup
Hazelnut, coconut, blueberry, caramel, irish cream, cinnamon, almond 600

*Chai spice tea
Hot chai tea 500 / hot chai milk 600

*Herb tea
Rosehips & hibiscus flowers, peppermint, apple & mixed herbs, camomile flowers 500

Warm milk 450
Korean yuzu tea, hot cocoa 550
Matcha milk, caramel milk, banana chocolate milk, brown sugar milk, sweet potato milk 600

Cold Drinks:
Ice coffee (Dutch coffee) 500
Cafe au lait / ice coffee latte / ice cocoa 550
Ice coffee mocha 600

*Latte with syrup - hazelnut, coconut, blueberry, caramel, irish cream, cinnamon, almond 600

*With ice cream
Strawberry milk, banana milk 600 / Ice coffee 650

Ice tea / coka cola / ginger ale 450
Apple juice 500
Pink lemon soda / mango nectar juice 550
Ice chai milk / yuzu soda / orange juice / orange yogurt drink / strawberry yogurt drink 600

Special 'Healthy' Drinks:
Coka cola+ citric acid 500
Lemonade (ice/hot) / ice green tea 550
Ice lemonade + citric acid / wild strawberry soda / soy & sesame milk / hot wild strawberry tea / hot milk with CoQ10 + collagen 600

I just ordered an iced chai milk. It was tasty and came in a big glass. I'll visit this cafe again as it is great for people watching and the atmosphere is very relaxing.
K's Cafe has an English website:

Hours of Operation: 13:00 - 21:00, last order 20:30. Closed on Thursdays.
No smoking time: 13:00 - 15:00

Address: 2-25-18, 2F, Kitazawa, Setagaya.
Phone: 03-5454-0047

Directions: Turn right out of the north exit of Shimokitazawa Station. You will see a cigarette shop on the left side within a minute. The is located on the second floor, above the cigarette shop.

Friday, July 20, 2007

55. Cake Shop Review: Second House

I'm really not much of a dessert eater, but this cake shop had always enticed me. I guess it was mainly the quiet, outside dining tables.
Inside was nice as well. It was all white, very clean and clutter free. There was wood everywhere and a collection of jazz records displayed above the counter advertised what was playing in the background. In the dining area there is a long bench with 7 '2-top' tables. There is a dessert display case as you enter, and two more 'two tops' located in front of it.
I was surprised that the menu included some lunch items (available from 11am to 2pm):
*Bagel Sandwich Set (pumpkin and cream cheese sandwich with soup and coffee/tea) 1000 yen
*Bagel Sandwich Set 2 (spam, lettuce, tomato, & cheese sandwich w/ soup, coffee/tea) 1000 yen
*Quiche Set (quiche of the day with soup, salad, and coffee/tea) 1000 yen
The coffees, teas, and other drinks are in English and Japanese, but the lunch sets are only in Japanese (but there are photos).
Drink Menu:
Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino, Cafe Caramel Mocha, Brown Sugar Green Tea Coffee Latte, Cafe Chai, Almond Au lait, Hand dripped iced coffee, Ice coffee latte. 500 to 600 yen
There is a wide assortment of teas, from 600 to 620 yen.
Juices (cranberry, hot lemonade, cranberry grapefruit, grapefruit, orange) 500 to 520 yen
Fresh ginger ale 500
Coke 500
Milk 500
Chocolate milk 520
Brown Sugar Roasted Green Tea Milk 520
Powdered Green Tea Milk 520
Special just for summer:
Strawberry Soda, Cream Soda, or Lemon Squash 550
There is also a small selection of alcohol (450 to 470)
Corona, Smirnoff, Guiness, Heineken, Zima
The cakes and desserts are always changing. Just check the display case for the day's offerings.
If you order a dessert, you get 100 yen off tea or coffee, 50 yen off a soft drink. Add a cream topping for an extra 50 yen.
All cakes, muffins, cookies,... are available for take-out.
Second House is behind the Ozeki supermarket, just up the alley from Bana Bana and close to ES Cafe.

54. Store Review: Bana Bana

Bana Bana is a great little store. Everything is made in Vietnam or China, and many items are 100 yen. Most items are made of wood, bamboo, glass, or clay. They have beautiful glasses, delicate wooden eating utensils, incense, stationary, kitchenware, bath salts,... the list goes on and on.

The staff can make up a great gift basket, at a fraction of the cost of going elsewhere. This is a store that I definitely recommend you take a look at.

Address: Kitazawa 2-9-3, just around the back of the Ozeki supermarket.
Phone: 03-5465-0849

53. Cafe Review: ES Cafe Dining

ES Cafe is a cafe mainly for those who like to play darts. There are two electronic dart boards, and the space needed to use them takes up almost half of the cafe.
In the front of the cafe is a large window overlooking a narrow, quiet alley. For those who just want to have a coffee and relax, there are two small sofas with a coffee table, and two lounge chairs also with a coffee table.
Along the other wall are 16 chairs with a variety of tables, all of which can be moved around. There is a computer at a table for two near the front window, and another one on a 4 seat bar counter located against the wall beside the dart boards. There are also two tall tables for two, and in the very back there is a bar counter with 3 or 4 seats.

There are two small TV's to watch, both were showing an international rugby tournament the day I was there. Otherwise, there is not much atmosphere, and there is a lot of clutter.

They have a few lunch specials everyday, I opted for one of their regular menu items: terriyaki chicken with lettuce on a toasted sesame bagel. It came with french fries, salad, and tea/coffee. It was very tasty, although difficult to eat (messy).

The menu is entirely in Japanese.

Unless you are into playing darts, there is nothing special about this cafe.

ES Cafe on the street right behind the Ozeki supermarket. I do not know their hours of operation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

52. Restaurant Review: Frisco - Charcoal Grill

I must have walked past it a million times before I finally noticed Frisco. Located down a tiny alley that is sandwiched between two stores, Frisco is a simple burger joint run by a really friendly man called 'Mike'. Well, his real name is Minoru, but after living in the United States for 37 years, 'Mike' fits. If you are looking for a delicious 'American-style' burger, this is definitely the place. Mike cooks his burgers right in front of you on a charcoal grill. The burgers are made from 100% Australian beef, each patty is 150 grams. Toppings include natural cheddar cheese, Texas pickles, fresh vegetables (tomato, lettuce, onion), mustard, and mayonaise. You can request any combination of these toppings, and you can add your own ketchup.
A 'lunch set' includes the soft drink of your choice and American crinkle fries, which come out crisp and golden brown. A single patty hamburger or cheeseburger set is around 1000 yen. Double and triple burgers are also available.

Purchased separately, burgers are 600 yen, french fries (m) 200 and (l) 380. The only other menu item is draft beer (400 yen).

Frisco's is a tiny place, narrow counters line the walls, and there are about 10 black bar stools for customers. The interior is mostly white with some silver accents, and photos of San Francisco help create an 'American' atmosphere. But, close your eyes and travel back just from the fantastic smell of the charcoal grilled burgers.

Sets are served in wicker baskets with 'Coke' cups, just like traditional American diners of the 50's and 60's. Of course the menu is in English and 'Mike' speaks it fluently. Take out is available.

Frisco is open from 11:30 to 21:00, it is closed on Tuesdays.
Phone: 03-3468-5744

Location: Out the north exit of Shimokitazawa, pass MOS Burger (it should be on your left), and Frisco is a little farther down, also on the left. It is just beside a store with a blue sign that (in English) reads 'Import Clothing - Magazen'.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

51. Cafe Review: Mardi Gras

Down a small, narrow alley, Mardi Gras is a very popular cafe for 'local' ladies.

As you walk in the door, there is a small bar counter with 6 chairs overlooking the kitchen. The 'Mama-san' will greet you, and she is assisted by a nice younger woman.
The decor is very 'European', with cream walls, dark wood floors and tables, and emerald green satin seat cushions. Light classical music plays in the background. There are four round tables for 2, two round tables for 4, and a large table for 6.

I had the special of the day, a corned beef and vegetable stew, which came with a nice salad (tomato, corn, lettuce, and daikon in a light onion vinaigrette), and a slice of warm, buttered and toasted, rye bread. Ice or hot coffee/tea was included.

Another lunch choice is the salad plate. Customers choose 2 or 3 salads from a list of about 10. There are also a few sandwiches to choose from.

Most people come here for coffee or tea, and there is a good selection of desserts.
The menu is all in Japanese, but most of it is katakana.

Located on the north side of Shimokitazawa Station, just up the street from the Sembei (rice cracker) shop.

Friday, April 20, 2007

50. Cafe Review: Cafe Ordinaire

If it wasn't for the sign out front, Cafe Ordinaire would be easy to miss. That is something you don't want to do if you are in the mood for a tasty 'European style' sandwich, served in a relaxed atmosphere. And, they want you to be relaxed. All lunch sets come with an alcoholic drink!

I started out with a shot of Cinzano Rosso on ice (an Italian vermouth). Other choices include Cinzano Dry, sake, or shochu. While you enjoy your drink, they will prepare one of the following for you:

Baguette Sandwiches
*BLT 800 yen
*Tomato and Mozzarella, with fresh basil 800 yen
*Italian prosciutto, Parmesan, and Reggiano 900 yen
*Roast Beef and 'Tona-to' Sauce 900 yen

*Egg and Zucchini bruschetta 900 yen
*Rice Omelet 1000 yen
*'Hayashi' (beef and onions in brown gravy) with rice 1000 yen
*Pasta of the Day 1000 yen (Shrimp and Broccoli the day I was there).

After lunch, you also get a choice of hot or iced tea/coffee.
On my first visit, I tried the prosciutto, parmesan, and reggiano sandwich. Very tasty. On my second visit, I ordered the tomato and mozzarella sandwich. The baguette was lightly toasted and filled with two thick slices of tomato and two thick slices of mozzarella; seasoned with some tasty olive oil. It was served with a lettuce mix covered in oil and vinegar. A great sandwich! I'm definitely going back to have another one of these. I will say that this is not a man's sandwich. It was a perfect size for ladies, however.

Cafe Ordinaire consists of two floors. The 3rd floor contains a long bar counter with 7 stools, two tables for 2, a table for 4, and two tables for 2 along a window overlooking the street. There are a few more tables upstairs, including one coffee table with a two-seater sofa looking out onto a balcony.
The interior of the cafe is cream and white. There are many records and Cd's behind the counter, but jazz piano was playing during my visit. The restaurant is mostly lit by natural light streaming through the window, making for a cozy atmosphere. The counter and wall shelves are lined with Japanese books covered in see-thru white sleeves. Reading material is also provided on a magazine rack. Actually, they advertise that they are a cafe and library.

The dessert menu has a lot of interesting choices, and the staff recommended trying one (but I wasn't hungry enough).

Choices included: Green tea chiffon cake, red wine cheesecake, banana tart, Jasmine tea cheesecake, biscotti, scones, and more. The biscotti were 120 each, all other desserts were between 480 and 550 yen.

Not so ordinary, this is another Shimokita cafe that I recommend.

Hours of Operation: 12:00 - 23:00. Lunch is served from 12:00 - 14:30.

Address: Kitazawa 3-25-1, Shimokitazawa MT Building, 3-4 fl.
Phone: 03-5738-0880


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

49. Cafe Review: Korko

Korko is another one of those great little cafes that Shimokita is famous for. The kind of place you want to hang out in.

Old wood floors and cream stucco walls surround earth-tone furniture. Decorative plants, strings of lights, and old Motown music add to the ambiance. One wall of Korko is all window. There is a coffee table with two small sofas, a four person 'floor' table, and a two person 'floor' table against this window. They give a really good view of the street and crowds below. Away from the window is another coffee table with two small sofas, two regular tables for two, and two stools at the bar.
All items on the lunch menu are served with a salad and choice of drink (coffee, tea, latte, orange juice, grapefruit juice, or Jasmine tea).

This is the complete lunch menu:

*Vegetable, sausage, and bacon 'Po tofu' , with choice of rice or bread 900 yen

*Tomato sauce pasta with bacon and spinach 950 yen

*Tandoori chicken and grilled vegetable 'don' (over rice in a bowl) 950 yen

*Vietnamese beef Pho 900 yen

*Beef stew, with choice of rice or bread 1000 yen

*Rice omelet topped with demi-glace sauce 1000 yen

*Butter Chicken Curry 1000 yen (sometimes they have green chicken curry instead). I ordered the beef stew with rice. First came my drink (iced Jasmine tea) and salad. Both good. My stew came with yellow saffron rice, yum. The stew was tasty, but I wouldn't order it again. Although good, the beef slices were too big to eat easily, and they were too difficult to cut without a knife. It wasn't traditional beef stew, I would have called it 'Sliced steak with stew'.
Hours of Operation: Open from 12:00 - 24:00. I am not sure what the dinner menu looks like.

Location: Korko is located about 3 minutes walk from the North exit of Shimokitazawa Station, at Kitazawa 2-33. It is on the 2nd floor, across the street from 'Robber Gabriela' (see earlier blog).

48. Store Review: Village Vanguard

This is by far the coolest, and most famous, store in all of Shimokita. Although it calls itself a book store, it is full of magazines, comics, CD's, posters, toys, jewelry, international snack foods, and much more. It is like a mini 'Don Quiote', full of all kinds of knick-knacks. If you visit Shimokita, make sure you check it out!

Hours of Operation: 10:00 - 24:00

Address: Kitazawa 2-10-15, Marche Bld. Very close to the Ozeki Supermarket.

Monday, April 16, 2007

47. Cafe Review: Asso

Asso is gone and has been replaced with a clothing shop.

Asso has a great location for people watching. When the weather is nice, the entire front wall of windows are folded back, making the cafe 'open-air'. There are four tables for two in this area, and dogs are welcome there.

Inside is a narrow room with tables one each side. Large screen TV playing movies. The room is well decorated, but I was surprised that many of the seat cushions were really stained. Not really that important, but it really takes a lot away from the place. In addition to the main room, there is also a 'secret room' for parties of four, and a VIP/reservation room that I have not seen.

The menu is extensive: appetizers, salad, soup, pizza, pasta, omelettes, rice dishes, sandwiches, steak, and more. Most dishes run around 1000 yen or less.

They offer a good selection of inexpensive lunch sets. I had a Japanese 'bento' box style lunch, it was very tasty.

There is also a long list of coffees, teas, and alcoholic drinks.

Address: 2-3-6 Kitazawa
Phone: 03-3413-0220

46. Restaurant Review: L.A. Cocina fu fu

This restaurant has closed and has been changed into a store.

Friday, April 13, 2007

45. Cafe Review: Alicia

Alicia is tiny cafe run by an older Japanese lady and her young assistant. There is a long wood counter with ten seats, and one table for 2. Red and white checkered curtains hang in the window. There are wood carvings all over the place, many with the name 'Alicia' carved into them, many others are animal figures. The place is cluttered and older, but interesting. Light piano music plays in the background. There is a small newspaper and magazine rack for those who want to read (Japanese only). In the far corner is a display of jams, rice, and other foods for sale. On display on the counter were: apple pie slices (no sugar or egg) 420 yen, and small bags of homemade cookies 470 yen.

The lunch menu is completely in Japanese, and is a little bit of a challenge to understand. The focus is 'natural foods'. I don't think the menu changes, so if you just remember what I've written here, you'll be all right.

A) Alicia's Lunch 1100 yen

B) Mixed Fry Lunch (potato croquette, fried tempe, fried white fish) and a salad 1250

C) Sesame Seed Soba Noodles and Seasonal Tempura Lunch 1500

D) Homemade bread sandwich with your choice of two fillings (potato croquette, fried tempe, cheese, mixed grain croquette). Comes with hot coffee or hot tea (for an extra 50 yen, you can have ice coffee or ice tea). 1250

E) Recommended Vegetable Lunch 1250

Other menu items:

*Vegetable and egg fried rice 890
*Sesame dare soba noodles 800

*Coffee or Tea 250 yen
*Apple or Iyokan Juice 350 yen

There is a dessert set (cake + coffee or tea) for 480 yen. And, a dessert + herb tea set for 600 yen.
I ordered 'D'. It was tasty, but I wouldn't order it again. I think the lady near me had 'A'. It looked really healthy and delicious. There was miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, another small side of vegetables, and one of the croquettes with shredded cabbage.

Location: From Shimokita's South Exit, turn left down the hill. Just past the Baskin Robbins, turn left and go under the 'Greek Pillar' train bridge. Alicia is just a little farther down on the left, 2nd floor.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

44. Cafe Review: Karate Chop

Karate Chop is a lovely little Vietnamese cafe. The interior is painted in vivid colors - bright canary yellow and brick red, with little Vietnamese touches here and there. Everything is a little worn, like a real cafe on a side street in Vietnam.
Karate Chop is a small cafe, there are only three regular tables for 2, two tables for two with chairs side by side with coffee tables, and one table for four.
The menu is standard Vietnamese fare. For lunch, my husband had the Pho; and I had a pork, egg, and vegetables over rice. It came with a side of soup - a tasty, herb broth.

We added the dessert and tea set for and extra 200 yen. We were both very happy with our meals, everything was delicious.

Just out front of the store are some inexpensive Vietnamese dishes, and other knick-knacks.

Location: Kitazawa 2-7-3
Phone: 03-3468-0481

Hours of Operation: 12:00 - 23:00 (until 1:00 am on Fri., Sat, and day before a holiday), lunch is from 12:00 - 16:00