’Twas the month before Christmas and I had my doubts

How could I feel jolly with no snow about?

But dinner held a glimmer of that seasonal glow

When I stopped in Yokosuka for a Surf Taco

YOKOSUKA, Japan — It wasn’t the snow globes on the counter or the stuffed Mickey Mouse Santa doll. And it certainly wasn’t the dancing snowman with disturbing snowman buttocks.

Still, I stumbled upon the spirit of Christmas at Surf Taco.

Workers Sada and Naoko welcomed us warmly to the small Mexican counter-style restaurant. So did the five or so Japanese people at the counter. No one laughed at us when my friend and I ordered almost everything on the menu.

Surf Taco has about as many menu items as it has seats — about 10. We got tacos, taco rice, guacamole, quesadillas and the carne asada burrito — the most popular menu item. Everything was freshly made, delicious, and served in paper to catch the juicy run-off.

Renovated in May, the restaurant features the hatch of a Volkswagen beetle built into its walls. Sada slings tacos out of the trunk but shuts it when weather prevails.

Amid all good food, cozy atmosphere, and Nina Simone on the radio, I started feeling Christmas-y. Everyone was chatting and Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Carter stopped in to help hang lights. Why?

“The people are cool and the food is good,” he said.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

Surf Taco

Yokosuka, Japan

Hours: Monday–Tuesday; 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m.; Wednesday–Saturday; 4 p.m.-3 a.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-midnight.

Prices: Start at 400 yen for little things like guacamole/chips and single tacos and graduate to 1,200 yen for the 10-piece Buffalo wings. Draft beer is 500 yen, imported Mexican bottles are 600 yen. Coke in glass bottles are 200 yen.

Speciality: Mexican

English menu: Yes

Dress: Ultra casual

Clientele: American and Japanese.

Phone: 046-823-3533

Location: Honcho 2-7, exit Yokosuka Naval Base, turn right two blocks and enter Dobuita Dori – otherwise known as “The Honch.” You can’t miss Surf Taco on the corner.

Web site: (in Japanese)

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