MISAWA, Japan — There’s corn soup and boneless chicken for the picky eaters, Thai coconut curry and Korean kimchi for the daring taste buds.

The Global Kitchen restaurant is a melting pot of foods from Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Korea, Indonesia, China and Japan.

It’s also cozy and quaint, a perfect place to bring the kids on a Sunday or to throw a small party for the shop on a Friday night.

Though nestled on a hill behind the east side of Misawa train station along a quiet road, Americans seem to have no trouble finding it: On a recent Sunday night, the place was nearly full, with 80 to 90 percent of the clientele Americans. That, said owner Tami Saitou, is typical.

“They like to get away from the base, I think,” she said. “They like to come here and relax.”

Senior Airman Jimmy Gonzalez and Staff Sgt. Michael Perrino Sr. and their families were digging the “all you can eat” Sunday dinner recently.

“We just found out about this,” said Gonzalez, with a cheese roll in hand. His favorite dish? “This stuff,” he said, pointing to the sweet and sour chicken.

The “all you can eat” isn’t typical American buffet-style, but for 1,550 yen (about $13) per adult, you can order anything on the “special” menu with no time or quantity limits.

The one caveat: “We only ask that you eat what you order,” reads the menu.

That’s easy, as long as you don’t order too many plates. The portions are small — in palm-sized dishes for the most part. And the food is tasty, especially the boneless chicken, breaded and salty, and the chicken fried rice.

“It’s enough variety for myself and the prices aren’t bad,” said Staff Sgt. Wanda Graham, a self-proclaimed picky eater from Misawa Air Base.

Saitou opened the Global Kitchen about two years ago. She used to run Pub No.1 near the Main Gate but had to close it because of the American Village development project.

Saitou is a cook who likes to travel, which is how the idea for the Global Kitchen was hatched.

She’s visited all the countries featured on the menu, learning how to prepare exotic cuisine from friends abroad.

As her travels expand, so will the menu, with African and Filipino food her new interest.

“I like to cook food and I like to cook other countries’ food,” she said.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

The Global Kitchen

Prices: Entrees from 800 yen to 1,200 yen (about $7 to $10), appetizers 500 to 650 yen (about $4 to $5.50); alcoholic beverages from 500 yen (about $4.25) to 680 yen (about $5.75).

Food: International and ethnic cuisine from Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia, China and Japan. Customer favorites include phad thai and coconut curry. “All-you-can eat” Sunday, lunch (11:30 to 3 p.m., last order 2:30 p.m.) and dinner (5 to 9 p.m., last order 8:30 p.m.); Tuesday, dinner (5 to 9 p.m.). Cost: dinner 1,550 yen (about $13) per adult; 730 yen (about $6) per child, 4 to 10 years old; lunch 1,050 yen (about $9) per adult, and 630 yen (about $530) per child, 4 to 10 years old.

English menu: Yes.

Dress: Casual.

Clientele: Lots of Americans, young and old couples, families with children, lone diners.

Location: Head straight past McDonald’s toward Misawa train station; at the next traffic light, stay to the right (don’t turn towards Sanwado). Global Kitchen is part way down the hill, on the left, before you reach the east (back) side of Misawa train station.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Mondays.

Telephone: 0176-57-3955

Web site: None.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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