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Top Gaijin eats or Non-Japanese foods in Tokyo

Hoping to start a decent list of places that us foreigners here in Tokyo like to hit up for some food that take our taste buds back to wherever we came from. In my case, off the top of my head those would be New York style Pizza and Pit BBQ. Both were almost impossible to come by until recently. In mid-2010 a NY style pizza place called Rocco's opened up in Oji, Tokyo and a bar that serves Pit BBQ (pulled pork and ribs, etc) and craft beer called Hato's bar opening in Nakameguro. Rocco's serves up a true NY slice of cheese pizza and Hato's bar serves up some great pit BBQ. Google them and you'll find them.

Anyone have other favorites they like to hit up for a taste of home?

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  1. For those of you who crave U.S. style BBQ, I can recommend the Bashamichi Taproom, which opened this past Saturday in Yokohama. It is the only restaurant I know of in the Tokyo/Yokohama area that offers authentic BBQ that is traditionally smoked over wood for several hours using low heat. I was there on Sunday and found all the BBQ meats plus the side dishes to be delicious.

    http://bairdbeer.com/en/taproom/basha...

    5 Replies
    1. re: ruprecht25

      Love US style pit BBQ. I heard about that place and glad it opened up close to my work.
      I've been following their blog, so expecting some good BBQ.
      Hato's bar in Nakameguro was the first place I had true BBQ here in Japan.
      The guys that run the place are cool and I've got to give them credit for pulling it off.
      Their pulled pork (smoked with cherry wood) is impressive. Their ribs are great as well.
      They also have biscuits and gravy which was a nice surprise.
      Looking forward to trying bairdbeer/taproom's new BBQ place though.
      To me it's a long time coming for decent BBQ in Japan. Bubby's (the Yokohama branch of the TriBeCa/NYC Restaurant) is now serving "pit BBQ" according to an advertisement poster my friend saw, so I think this is the start of the US BBQ trend in Japan. Though I'm hoping it isn't just a trend.

      1. re: sonik212

        Another big thumbs up for Hato's bar from me.

        Like sonik says, the guys are really cool and the food is amazing. Only downside is it's a pretty small place and I don't want it to become too popular.

        1. re: davey.c

          I also tried Hato's bar last week for the first time. As mentioned by sonik and davey.c, the atmosphere is excellent and the staff and guests are really friendly. The beers change regularly - one of the IPAs I tried was great and the other beers were at least okay. I ordered the pork spareribs and the pulled pork sandwich. The sandwich was tasty. The ribs had nice flavor, but they weren't very meaty. I also give it a thumbs up and will definitely return to get my pork and craft beer fix.

      2. re: ruprecht25

        Tried the Bashamichi Taproom BBQ in Yokohama last night.
        They have some decent BBQ and craft beers to wash it down.
        I tried the beef brisket sandwich and a slab of the "Fat" Japanese BBQ rib, both were great!
        However I found the pork sandwich to be a disappointment.
        They have 3 different BBQ sauces; mustard based, vinegar based and just plain BBQ.
        For pork I prefer Hato's Bar (Nakameguro) pork sandwich, which has never disappointed but glad to see places in Japan finally catching up with true US style BBQ. With the Bashamichi Taproom on one end and Hato's bar in Nakameguro on the other, the Tokyu Toyoko line should be dubbed the BBQ express. Still haven't tried Bubby's BBQ sandwich in the Sakuragicho/Minato Mirai area, but not in any rush.

        1. Wow, that's your third posting about Rocco's NY-style pizza place in Oji. You must really like the place!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robb S

            yeah...lol. It's been too long without NY pizza. I used to have it a couple times a week before coming out here and was pretty much raised on the stuff. I want people to know about it because I want them to stay around a while! Also I know a lot of foreigners say the same thing about pizza so want to make sure people know about the place. But, yeah... good slices that I can actually call NY style.

            1. re: sonik212

              Murray Hill represented!

              I hope you're right about Rocco's. Been wanting to have a NYC-style slice or three for many, many moons.

              I love the quality of a lot of the pizza in Tokyo (favorite is Savoy atm) but if Rocco's is as good as you say, I'll make the trek out to Oji.

              1. re: gkanai

                Gkanai-
                I used to hit up MIKE DUE on 3rd and 25th?... I'd say Rocco's is as good as most decent pizza joints in NYC. At least in my humble opinion.
                Yeah Oji is a trek for me too, but I think I need to make a trek this weekend. I'll have to hit it on a trip to Ueno or something. It's like 10-15 minutes from that area.

          2. Lauderdale in Roppongi (http://www.lauderdale.co.jp) is good, though I'd be lying if I said it actually reminded me of home. I have American friends who insist that Pizzakaya (http://www.pizzakaya.com) is good for US-style pies, though I'd much rather go and get the Italian version elsewhere.

            If anybody knows where to get a good cheese pasty like they make them in Blighty, I'd be very interested to hear about it.

            1. Those looking for a decent burrito (like Chipotle) should check out Frijoles in Azabu Juban. The closest I've come across to "American-ized" Burritos. Good burritos. The size is a little small but that's Japan for you. Google them and you'll find them. English OK, in fact I think most of the customers that I'e seen there are foreigners.

              14 Replies
              1. re: sonik212

                That's because most Japanese people will NOT eat beans that haven't been sweetened.
                This is why most Mexican restaurants in Japan can easily be declared "bean free" zones.

                1. re: Tripeler

                  Yes, the Japanese aversion to grilled soramame (broad beans), tobanjan, daitoku-ji natto, edamame, miso and natto slathered in soy sauce and fiery mustard is well known.

                  1. re: MoGa

                    Yes, you make a very good point. I suppose I should have said "beans in a western cooking format." Anyway, in most Mexican food served in Japan, beans play a very minor role, if any.

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      I wonder if it's the perception of beans in tex-mex dishes as filling, stodgy foods that make lunch diners feel too bloated to work effectively afterwards and evening diners worried that they might become overcome with the urge to pass wind in the presence of their dinner dates. And I meant the word 'perception' here, I mean no disrespect whatsoever to real Mexican food (not the tex-mex kind so much) which I rate highly.

                      I'm afraid I've not visited any Mexican places in Tokyo, my father-in-law loves and appreciates Spanish cuisine and I've been with him to a range of Spanish and Portuguese restaurants, pretty much all of them had savoury bean dishes on the menu.

                      How about a feijoada (フェジョアーダ )
                      somewhere like Tucano's?
                      http://www.pjgroup.jp/tucanos/churras...
                      There seems to be a few other places in Tokyo that sell beans cooked in this way.

                2. re: sonik212

                  Frijoles is good, but somehow doesn't make it to great. I'm not sure what they're missing. The ingredients are fresh, and I've tried almost all of the combinations, and they definitely satisfy the urge for quality Mexican fast food, and I go back regularly, but they're missing something- not sure what it is. Maybe a sauce or maybe a melted cheese something or...

                  1. re: sonik212

                    Frijoles recently opened a second branch in the Piramide (Pyramid) Building in Roppongi.

                    http://www.frijoles.jp/

                    1. re: sonik212

                      Libre in Aoyama is awesome - way better than Frijoles as the super burrito is actually substantial. The karaage next door was also pretty good.

                      1. re: ninnikuramen

                        Oh I agree - Libre is much better. And the Korean karaage place is certainly interesting.

                        1. re: ninnikuramen

                          Definitely agree that Libre is way better than Frijoles. But they are no longer in Aoyama. They now have a small shop in Ebisu (East exit -- right around where Good Day Books used to be). They now do a jumbo size which is a decent sized burrito even by American standards.

                          1. re: okanebones

                            Or, more specifically, here's a map: http://bento.com/gmaps/0782.html

                            They seem to have more salads too.

                            1. re: Robb S

                              They're not there any more. Does anyone know where they moved to? I think it's still in Ebisu. There's also a small place in Harajuku called Chili's that serves up an all right burrito, though it's kind of small. At least the guy making it speaks Spanish :)

                              1. re: okanebones

                                If "they" is Libre, they've moved to Taiwan. (Or at least they've opened a Taiwan branch, and closed their Tokyo shop.)

                                1. re: okanebones

                                  Chili's in Harajuku was so roundly disappointing on my visit that I never returned. Don't remember a Spanish speaker, just two half-Japanese women who couldn't explain much in two languages.

                        2. I like the tiny Kimono Grill near nogisaka, dinner is good and the brunch has real bacon.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: HubrisSonic

                            Never heard of the place but just punched it up on google. I like their menu. Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries.... nice. A lot on their menu sounds really good. Need to check them out at some point soon. Especially since they have a BYOB night on the first Friday of every month. Thanks for the heads up.