If you are looking for trendy or fancy or antiseptic, don’t go to Fuji Lunch (冨士ランチ). But if you want to step back in time for some good ole yoshoku (洋食)–ie: Western inspired Japanese cuisine that came about during the Meiji Restoration–head out Asagaya Station’s North Exit and hang a left down your second side street. There you will find the dingy, old diner that you’d probably otherwise pass right by.
Fuji Lunch is a small diner run by one guy in a white apron and chef’s hat. He’s not the most congenial or garrulous guy but this allows him to be quick with the food. The American Forces Network broadcast coming from the small radio certainly adds to the yoshoku atmosphere, with its bad music, bad ads and current events from Yokota Air Base. It’s got seating for 14 people–a couple of four-tops and six pickle green vinyl stools along the counter.
Disclosure: I had a cockroach slowly traverse the wall beside me, but it was small and sluggish and easy enough to dispose of. And having spent a decade in the food service industry I know that all restaurants have roaches. Yes, even the Michelin Three Stars. I’ve also never witnessed restaurant staff in Japan freak out about a roach like they do back home. Whenever I’ve pointed out one of the little critters here, they all react with a similar “Oh yes, a bug. Sumimasen.” So don’t expect to get half your bill comped if you should encounter one. And with over 4,000 species of the critters you’re bound to at some point. But that’s enough about bugs.
While not Michelin-ranked, the joint puts down a good plate of food. I was informed (and could understand) how the moist, hand-molded, thickly covered Cheese Hamburg has a natsukashii (懐かしい) flavour. Natsukashii is used to describe a feeling of positive nostalgia, something reminiscent of a pleasant past experience, usually referring to childhood. Like steamed hot dogs, Ding Dongs or Donkey Kong. The Chicken Cutlet (チキンカツレツ) is as crisp as it is huge and not a bad deal for 540 yen.
In addition to the all-day menu, he offers three lunch sets–the typically-named A Lunch, B Lunch and C Lunch–ranging from 460 to 600 yen, depending on the day’s selection. Other menu items include Pork Sauté (¥860), Mixed Grill (¥980) and Hamburg & Egg (¥620), all served with a side of rice.
So for the same price as a bento you can a get filled up with a simple yet tasty sit-down meal.
Suginami-ku, Tokyo, 166-0004
Tel: (03) 3338-4370
Lunch: 11:30 to 14:00
Dinner: 18:00 to to 21:00
Closed Sunday & Holidays
Website: none found
Twitter: none found