The New York cafe experience in Yoyogi-Koen
Japan’s infatuation with the Big Apple is evident in Tokyo’s myriad cafés and restaurants emulating the Manhattan aesthetic—as seen on television and in the movies. Café Greed goes beyond that, offering a tranquil escape from the omnipresent Tokyo buzz by transporting customers to a lazy afternoon in a Greenwich Village coffee shop.
Tucked away in a shopping street near Yoyogi Park, Greed’s contemporary Western façade is hard to miss amid the Japanese shops and studios it’s nestled between. Inside, the café is cozy yet spacious, luminous with sunlight permeating through the glass doors and the aroma of fresh, hand-dripped coffee wafting throughout. Four-legged companions can occasionally be spotted in this pet-friendly, non-smoking venue.
Designed to replicate New York’s computer-friendly hangouts, free Wi-Fi is provided, and each table is equipped with electrical outlets—the communal table even has several built into it.
The food at Greed is equal parts hearty, healthy and inventive, making use of fresh vegetables and ingredients outside conventional restaurant fare, such as okara—or pulp made of soy. The menu comprises both meaty and vegetarian dishes, served in copious portions, like their coffee.
Greed’s specialty coffee is hand-dripped in-store and comes in cups that may be standard-sized in the States, but would be considered Herculean in Japan. Coffee variants are also available such as espresso and cappuccino, as well as herbal teas.
The lunch menu has three options: The soup set (¥900), the salad set (¥950) and the sandwich set (¥1,100), each paired with a beverage.
The okara and cheese sandwich is satisfying and mild, the chewy soy blocks adding cushion to the crunchy French bread, all topped with the creamy goodness that is melted Swiss. Other options include BLT, tuna melt, ham avocado melt, grilled chicken with avocado and finally, meatloaf. Additionally, Greed’s bread is made with rice flour, which contains less gluten than most breads.
The sandwiches also come with a choice of olive oil in six flavors, such as orange, lemon, chili pepper, garlic and herbs. Greed utilizes organic olive oil imported from Tunisia, and the wide array of taste options makes it enjoyable with bread alone.
The broccoli and cheese soup is a zesty concoction that fuses the earthiness of greens with the tenderness of dairy, making for a scrumptious companion to the meal. The soups here can be had as side dishes in small bowls or mains in large ones.
For dessert, Greed serves up homemade banana bread, brownies, granola with yogurt and lemon pie. However, its most notable sweet dish is the Mason jar custard trifle—as the name suggests, it’s a creamy concoction served in the multi-functional jar that’s all the rage on Pinterest these days.
For those seeking a quick refuge in a truly chill coffee shop environment serving healthy, hearty food, Greed—in this instance—is a virtue.
1-43-7 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6804-0213. 11am-11pm, daily. Nearest station: Yoyogi-koen. http://cafegreed.com