Taste of New York comes to Tokyo
Despite being crowned leader of the gastronomic world by France’s Michelin Guide, one thing Tokyo has always lacked is good delicatessen food. Finding good corned beef, cabbage roll or even a kosher pickle here has always been an exercise in futility.
This may have changed with the recent opening of the Tokyo branch of Junior’s, a Brooklyn deli famous for its pastrami and cheesecake. The venerable restaurant opened a takeout counter with its Japanese partner in October in the basement of Daimaru Department Store under JR Tokyo Station.
Currently serving full-size pastrami-on-rye sandwiches for 1,360 yen, half-size ones for 680 yen, and a set of a half sandwich, cole slaw and potato chips for 800 yen, the deli promises an expanded menu in future, with corned beef, roast beef and their signature “World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake” expected to be added shortly.
While the sandwiches are not nearly as large as those available in the States, they are much bigger than any available elsewhere in Japan. And the taste is genuine, with the counterman swearing that the meat is smoked and cured in the U.S.
In the same counter area, five kinds of soup from Al Yeganeh, made famous as the “Soup Nazi” on “Seinfeld,” are on sale under the Original Soupman brand. The sales clerks are much nicer than Yeganeh was portrayed on the comedy series, so there is no chance of them saying, “No soup for you.”
Pizza from Famiglia, New York-style bagels from Ess-a-Bagel and American hot dogs from Johnsonville are also available.
It’s not New York and the accents (and politeness) of the counter staff won’t remind anyone of the Big Apple, but it is the closest thing to the promised land yet in this city we call home.