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Shupoul near Yokota serves waves of Mediterranean flavor

The tzatziki, left, from Shupoul in Tachikawa, Japan, consists of six crackers with a dollop of the Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce, each with a caper, kalamata olive slice or chunk of cherry tomato.

THERON GODBOLD/STARS AND STRIPES

By THERON GODBOLD | Stars and Stripes | Published: August 20, 2020

Not far from Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo lies an unassuming restaurant in Tachikawa that flies the Hellenic flag.

The Greek restaurant Shupoul serves Mediterranean flavors from pizza to souvlaki.

Shupoul is just a 30-minute drive from the base, and with paid parking next door is easy to reach. The main dining room has seating for 14 at four tables and four small-group rooms that seat eight.

This restaurant has you covered if a taste of Greece is what you’re looking for. The staff welcomed me in Japanese and pointed me to an empty table.

On the menu, each item is named in English, but described in Japanese. I saw many dishes that I didn’t expect.

When I lived in Chania, on the island of Crete, I found a little restaurant run by a Greek family where I was introduced to home-cooked Greek food. The menu at Shupoul surprised me with things like moussaka, halloumi cheese and tzatziki.

Over the years, I’ve learned to sidestep the foods that top the menu and instead go for the staples. If the basic items are good, you’ve found a place worth another visit.

After looking at Shupoul’s menu, I set my mind to tzatziki (about $3.50) and a gyro lunch plate (about $11).

As I waited, upbeat jazz played in the background. Quickly, my food began to arrive; the entire meal was at my table in less than 10 minutes.

A salad and drink came with the meal. Leafy greens, sliced tomato, white onion and cucumber were all drizzled in oil and vinegar. A pinch of Mediterranean herbs littered the small salad plate.

The tzatziki came next, not as a sauce but as a topping. Six crackers with a dollop of the Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce topped the crackers, each with a caper, kalamata olive slice or chunk of cherry tomato capping it off. The flavor was good, light and almost sweet with a good blend of salty brine flavor from the olives and capers.

The gyro came shortly after the appetizers. A tightly wrapped pita stuffed with sliced pork, tomato, red onion and Greek yogurt sat next to a stack of freshly fried, lightly salted potatoes.

The flavors of this meal took me back. I could almost hear the Mediterranean waves crashing in the Chania harbor.

As I finished my meal and went to pay, I thanked the staff and thought to myself that it might not be Greece, but the flavors came very close.

godbold.theron@stripes.com
Twitter: @GodboldTheron

Location: 2-5-15 Hagoromocho, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-0021

Directions: A 30-minute drive from Yokota Air Base, Japan. The Google plus code is MCWH+G4 Tachikawa, Tokyo.

Hours: Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.

Prices: Appetizers start at $3.50 and meals range between $8 and $16.

Dress: Casual

Information: 042-519-3923; Online: shupoul.com

The pork gyro from Shupoul in Tachikawa, Japan: A tightly wrapped pita stuffed with sliced pork, tomato, red onion and Greek yoghurt sitting next to a stack of freshly fried, lightly salted potatoes.
THERON GODBOLD/STARS AND STRIPES