Monday, May 3, 2010

Bubby's Pie & Diner, Yokohama

Big afternoon in Yokohama - after pushing through the crush of Chinatown, we used a combination of solar navigation, animal instinct and an iPhone to find our way up the hill to Yamate Bluff. The Tin Toy Museum, just down the street from St. Maur International School (or YIS, as the case may be) is pretty cool, if a bit hidden, and has a huge shop of Christmas goods. Japan. Don't tell anyone it's quirky. Shhh.

We made our way back to the station via all the crappy waterfront attractions, and eventually at Sakuragicho were thinking of getting on the train to go home when we saw this - an odd Japanese outpost of a modern / old-fashioned diner in Tribeca. The Peafowl had one of the best brunches EVER there, and everyone was a bit parched and peckish, so we tried it.

Nice plumage, BTW.

These vintage pie plates under the reception counter were nice. The whole place is a bit full of that sort of touch, which is comforting in an upscale-Applebee's way.

The concept seems to be that they've taken the best diner recipes from all over America and put them under one roof. That's not a bad concept at all, but a heck of a lot musta got lost in translation.

Incidentally, Bubby's Japan is part of the Wonderland Group, which also includes small chains of Indian, Chinese, ramen, Italian, Thai and Oregonian.  Diversity is their strength.

Nachos, everyone loves nachos. These were small but pretty decent; thinking back, I know Peacock had a bunch of criticism, but I can't think of many specific ways to make it better except by adding some meat, some beans, more cheese, heating it all more...well, it was an OK starter.

The fries were very, very limp, and we were a bit disgusted, but then there was something oddly addictive about the seasoning. We were thus emboldened to strike out with some more food.

One of the best things about American food is barbeque. True fact. I was really hopeful that they would do something good with it. They didn't. We all had the same reaction - excitement on first chew, which quickly dissolved to confusion and then revulsion as if the spawn of an alien beast was swimming in our mouths. OK, not that bad, but a cruel joke on barbeque with a chemical, overly-sweetened taste. "I'm getting Campbell's tomato..."

And the final insult, macaroni and cheese. Wait, 'Crusty' macaroni and cheese on the menu. Less crusty than it looked, and much more thickened milk sauce than cheese sauce. And...
"How do you fuck up mac and cheese?!"
"Add cinnamon."

Bubby would be rolling over in her grave if there was a Bubby and she was dead. On the bright side, I don't see any mention on the New York site of this place, so maybe it's an unauthorized copy.

One can hope against hope.


  1. My Bubby was called Bubba and she was a real person!!

  2. Yeeewww - I'll skip this place.

  3. Thanks for this review. A bunch of us were wondering if Bubby's was going to be worthwhile. Sad to hear it isn't. It's like Bagel & Bagel- horrendous soft round bread. Japan can do some things well but BBQ (that alone is a lifetime of work to master) or pies or an honest-to-goodness mac&cheese is no small feat. I was skeptical and am sad to hear that my gut was right.