Conflagration Cafe: Home of the Flaming Steak
Hitachiota is home to an unusual, somewhat surreal restaurant. A five minute walk from the station, hidden in the midst of a residential area, is a small so-called café that offers up some pretty surprising fare. The Sweet Café, contrary to its name, is not a dessert spot but rather a meat-centered establishment catering to a slightly more adventurous clientele. In fact, the main claim to fame for this café is their Flaming Hamburg Steak (as advertised on their sign outside), which is prepared right at your table. The meat is high quality Hitachi beef, gently grilled before being brought out on a metal skillet with some mixed vegetables. The server brings out a bottle of brandy, douses the patty, and soon there is a towering inferno spouting from your meal! It is quite a sight, and certainly makes for a fun time, although the flavor of the dish itself is not quite as spectacular.
The Flaming Hamburg Steak also comes with soup and salad, which are similar in flavor to the main dish, and a small dessert parfait as well as coffee or tea. While the dessert was by far the best part of the meal, the experience of watching your dinner go up in flames was definitely something you don’t get to try every day. Other menu items include the intriguingly named Volcano Steak, as well as another steak covered in gold leaf, all of which are quite pricey. The Flaming Hamburg is actually the cheapest item on the menu, and coming in at 1800 yen gives you an idea of where the price range goes from there.
The atmosphere is a little unusual as well; the entryway is set up with astro turf and plastic lawn chairs, while the inside reminds one of an out-of-the way American roadside diner. The service is very good (the waiter even wears a tie and vest) and there was no difficulty in getting in for lunch, so if you happen to be in the area and in need of a thrill with your meal, by all means drop in.