Friday, December 3, 2010

American, Shibuya

'Tis the season, folks, and nothing says FESTIVE to me like a baby plastic tree in the stony lobby of a Shibuya-crossing mid-rise! Our merry crew was practically chorusing in the aisles as ve valtzed to the elevators for round 2 of this forget-the-year party.

But hell, it got even better when we got upstairs! American greets you with a splash of neon and a display of what might be their whole menu - drinks, simple 1-plate foods that are thought to go well with drinks, and...well, and an entrance. If you're here, there's no need to dally! Sounds of merriment are emanating! The youth of Japan awaits!

They have almost 300 seats spread out in a space that combines 80's-style bare brick, threadbare carpet, and well-used lounge chairs - all the comforts of home, if you live in a place that hosts bottom-end gokon every night! Do I remember correctly that there was faux stained glass too?! Be still, my heart.

The fresh fish selection is presented near the entrance too - daringly, it's not on ice, but under water. The tank was close to empty when we arrived, no doubt a combination of the late hour and the number of drunken salary-boys that had already scooped impromptu snax.

I hear you have to order one food each, so we... Fried chicken is class-agnostic. That's pretty obvious, I suppose, but you can get it right at any price point if your batter and frier work together, and I enjoyed my piece of this scrum. Other than that, fries are things that all too often fail to meet expectations, whereas pizza is best avoided in situations like this. Squid balanced on a beer mug is a specialty of the house. Everything is 15-50% cheaper before 7 PM.

There wasn't really anything wrong with the food, especially at the prices. But there's one really good thing that can be said about American:

Cheap beer. Cheap, cheap beer.

Even cheaper when the staff get confused by all the rushing around and two of them bring you a whole round each. That would make these Y125 beers since we did the needful and verified that they hadn't charged us for two rounds.

All 10 of them arrived about 30 seconds before they put the full-force press on us to get out for the night. You'll join me, no doubt, in saying 'what what?' at the 11 PM closing time, rigorously enforced. Honestly, young people probably need a little more guidance in their lives than they can get from cheap beer and whole squid. Staff telling you politely but firmly that it's time to go home is a good first step. Viva l'American!

I'm going back, and I'm calling all the waiters 'Dad'.


  1. this was definitely the better part of the evening !!

  2. Second that too. Great days. Did we actually try the squid, or just admire the balancing act?

  3. I think we ordered the squid only to put it on a mug. The picture is probably from when we were leaving. Hopefully they saved it for the next night.