After Hours: An American-style diner in Japan – with pie
July 5, 2007
CHATAN, Okinawa — American American is the not-half-bad Japanese interpretation of a 1950s American roadside diner.
The restaurant, on the corner of Highway 58 and Hamagawa Road, nails the ambience — right down to the cattle skull on the wall and the pie-lined shelves as you walk in the door.
You get the feeling it’s been there forever.
Though American American creates the atmosphere of Americana at its best, the menu is a little more international. There are American diner-esque choices such as fried shrimp, which is even served with the classic 1950s vegetable medley of carrots, corn and peas. But the menu also includes Mexican and traditional Japanese meals.
Meals are diner-sized portions, so you won’t leave hungry. But be sure to save room for dessert. Pie choices range from the American standard of apple pie to the Japanese favorite of ube (sweet potato) pie.
If you’re expecting Mom’s apple pie, however, you might be disappointed as the sweet treats here are, to an American palate, short on sugar. But even without the sugar rush, the pies we had still were tasty — they just weren’t quite like Mom made.
One disappointment: The coffee was not up to diner standards.
But, for the money, it’s a pretty good deal. My dining companion and I ordered meal sets that included drink and desert for about 1,000 yen each.
So it’s not a bad place to grab a quick bite for lunch or a chat with friends over coffee and dessert. You can even run through the restaurant’s drive-through and get the meal to go. And, like diners stateside, they sell pie whole or by the slice.
To see previous After Hours reviews, go to stripes.com/afterhours.
Prices: Meal sets range between 800 and 1,100 yen.Specialties: American, Mexican and Japanese food.English menu: Yes.Dress: Casual.Clientele: Mostly Japanese. Suitable for family dining.Location: From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for about 4 kilometers; you will pass Camp Lester on the right. The restaurant is on the left at the intersection with Hamagawa Road. American American is a freestanding restaurant next to the Sega arcade on the left.Web site: None.