Cliff and I had decided to explore the east side of Shinjuku area and eventually get to the area near the Kudanshita station in Chiyoda. However, the first step on our trip became sort of a detour. We had originally intended to visit somewhere else, but it was closed for one reason or another, so we decided to come back to it later. In the meantime, we decided to travel further from there and took a train from Higashi-Shinjuku to a district called Kagurazaka. The architecture of the area is an interesting fusion of different cultures, from traditional Japanese to French – as many French expatriates live around there and there are a couple French organizations that are located there– and the modern look of the city. The area is full of restaurants and bakeries and the smell of everything was great. It’s definitely a place to explore and take in the sights and scents.
We decided upon stopping at the Yebisu Bar (エビス バー) to try some of its draft beers, cocktails, and lunch items. Yebisu is one of Japan’s largest breweries, and they usually advertise themselves as “the Beer of Beers.” Of course, draft tends to be better than canned, so we were eager to try the selections on tap.
To start, I had a Creamy Top Yebisu Stout. I like stouts quite a bit, so its smooth drinking and balance of flavor was refreshing to me. I quite liked it.
Cliff, on the other hand, tried something called the Rikyu, a green tea infused cocktail beer that has a distinctive green color. The distinctive taste of green tea surprisingly goes pretty well mixing with beer, which tasted bitter usually.
Before our dishes came out, we were given the choice to visit their salad bar. The salad bar was very small and limited in selection, and probably not ideal for people who expect to go up multiple times and have gobs of lettuce hanging off the plate.
We were then served our respective meals, and I had a hamburger steak duo, one covered in a demi-glace sauce, and the other with avocado and tomato salsa. I have to admit that I sort of preferred the demi-glace over the salsa, as the flavor of the salsa wasn’t strong enough to really be noticeable.
Cliff on the other hand, had Brazilian style grilled chicken with tomato & fries. The chicken is grilled tenderly and the meat remains juicy.
We were both given plates of rice along with our meals, and with the French fried potatoes that came with the dishes, we had a lot of carbs to eat.
I finished everything off with a beer cocktail called Ume-Tsukiyo. Like its name implies, it has a heavy presence of plum – known in Japanese as ume – and a touch of Bacardi Oakheart Rum. I like rum as a mixer, especially with sodas, so I was looking forward to this concoction. The plum taste is very present, and it almost overpowers the rum flavor completely. It was very fruity, not very beer-like at all, but not unpleasant to drink and went down quite easily.
The Yebisu bar is a nice place for a lunchtime drink with pleasant food and a location amongst some nice scenery. It’s a little hidden from the main path, but it’s not too hard to find and the beer choices are great. I’d love to go there for another stout!