Wednesday, February 3, 2010

West Park Cafe, Kamiyacho

Before launching into a short and dull review of a place every foreigner in Tokyo probably knows, let me ask a simple question: Why did Josie Cotton never make it big? I was just listening to Convertible Music, which is a truly excellent confection of 80's girl-rock. Sure, many people know songs like He Could Be the One and Johnny Are You Queer and School Is In since they appeared in Valley Girl (Don't get me started. What a great movie, and largely overlooked vs. the other early 80's standards. Nic Cage at 19!) but I don't get the sense that she ever went anywhere with it. It's a real shame. The other songs on the album broaden the mood with minor chords and real angst (more than the oddball worries of Johnny), and the whole thing stands up well to a Bangles or Go-Go's effort.

Back to our regular programming.

A quick dinner at WPC's Kamiyacho outlet. If you're not familiar with this place, it fills a niche competently - American food. There are a bunch of 'small plates' of variously meaty, cheesy, filling-y food, but the main attraction seems to be the big burgers and a few salads and sandwiches. We just had a chicken sandwich and a Cobb salad, each of which was big enough to make me go "Oof, I wish we had only ordered one dish." The quality isn't bad, and the prices are decent. From memory of last year's lunch, the burgers are also pretty good.

There's a secondary focus on wine, and just at a quick glance there might be some interesting things, for example the bottle on special was called Snowqualmie - I take it no one wants to spend Y5000 for Washington wine, and they've been forced to cut the price dramatically? Had I been drinking wine, I would have sprung for this; Washington and Oregon are something I'd get into if I liked in the US. Sort of like the New Zealand of West Coast wine.

The atmosphere was pretty poor last night; empty, quiet, a disco ball throwing a few half-hearted sparkles around the room while some guys sat and smoked. I'd like to attribute that to the weather, which was dismal wind and freezing rain. I'm sure in warmer months the outside terrace fills up and it's nice.

Interestingly, I assumed it was foreign-owned, but the web site makes me think otherwise - unless the owners allowed in such gems as "A happy hour in the standing bar is the happy!" and "The dining and the bar where the United States in mid-century was imaged are the West Park Cafe for the ladies and gentlemen."

Note the 1-drink minimum at night, and no tap water. No further comment.

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