Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monsoon, Minami Funabashi

Not exactly a name to conjure with, Monsoon...for me it brings up memories of a trip to Tokyo a long, long time ago (relatively) in a distinctly weird period of my life. I had lunch with my former boss, generally known as Indian John, which is weird enough in itself - careful reflection over the intervening years has convinced me that the 4 months I spent on a project with him were the worst of my life. The whole company-flameout and everything else last year actually wasn't as bad!

Anyway, Monsoon - cheap faux-Southeast Asian, done in a big, friendly format with big, friendly service. A funny thing at Monsoon, at least the Minami Funabashi LaLaPort branch that I went to, is that they ask for your name on the way in. I thought there was a wait to eat, which was a bummer, but it turns out this is just a unique service element. After learning your name, they shout it at you at every opportunity, either to show that they remember or that they care. It's sort of a funny trick, but altogether too American for a Southeast Asian-themed restaurant in Japan.

And it's clearly Southeast Asian Themed (capital T). We had a green curry, which was more of a grey curry, but that's more or less normal, except that it was extremely sweet and quite a bit spicy. Some members of the party found it less than platable. The other item was a yam woon sen (the Thai salad of clear bean noodles with various seafood and vegetable bits, and lime juice). This was OK; it only sinned by being boring. Tellingly, there's a big menu given over to drinks - again I felt like I was at Applebee's - and we ordered up some mojitos. One should probably take counsel not to order Cuban theme drinks in a Southeast Asian theme restaurant in a Japanese-themed country, but there you are, and the results were predictable.

Should you in fact be out in the hinterlands, and at the mega-LaLaPort of Minami Funabashi, there must surely be better options than this...and in point of fact, if you're in The City, there's probably also no need to go to the Monsoon branches there. Tinun will put you right if you're in need of an SEA fix, or there are a few places on the guitar street in Shin Okubo that are genuinely Thai, right down to the waitresses. Please consult the map for further information...

Ahhh, Global Dining - Monsoon, La Boheme, Zest, Stellato...all your ethnically-themed favorites!

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