Ultraman bad guys consort in Kawasaki
One recent sultry evening, we lumbered in to Kaiju Sakaba in Kawasaki for a taste of some monster-inspired grub. This limited edition izakaya (it closes March 2015) is themed after the kaiju (strange beasts) from the 1960s Japanese television series Ultraman.
Upon entry, we were advised that no superheroes or members of the Science Special Search Party were allowed—and just to check, please stick your hand in Jamila’s mouth over there. Ok. With that test passed, we were escorted past display cases, models and toys of Ultraman-themed baddies (there are even kaiju hats and masks to try out) to a cozy booth at the back. Seated, we were informed that there was a strict 2-hour time limit, we could feel free to take the branded hashioki (chopstick holders) home with us, and every dish ordered came with a collectable drink coaster with images of loveable Ultraman fiends.
We ordered a couple of draft Suntory Premium Malt’s (¥590) that arrived in mugs with Ultraman foes emblazoned on them. The mugs, obviously, are not free to keep—but they are for sale at the front counter. Each menu section is “curated” by one of the various kaiju in the Ultraman pantheon. Fresh salads and veggies are recommended by the ghost-like Nova, and we opted for the special “Forbidden Word” green salad (¥780) topped with loads of cabbage, crunchy jako (small fried fish) and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Once the dish was mopped up, a Japanese message from Alien Mefilas appeared on the plate: “Chikyu wo agemasu” (“I will give you the Earth”). The staff seemed to think this was a question, and our server waited attentively. We said yes—at which point the server made us feel unsure of ourselves and then walked away, never to raise the issue again.
Fresh seasonal fish are recommended by Muruchi the giant fish monster (natch), meats by the Godzilla-like Red King, quick dishes for the undecided by Alien Chibu (a levitating brain) and grilled items by Fire Badon, a winged lava monster—and yes, there’s an English menu to help you out with all this. We went for a special jumbo Twin Tail (apparently the subterranean Gudon’s fave snack, ¥1,280), which consisted of two ebi (shrimp) wrapped in bacon, skewered, deep-fried and then stood up to resemble the monster—complete with a dollop of mashed pumpkin and peas for the head. The rest of the menu was pedestrian and predictable for foodies, but fans of the series will have fun.
Everyone is encouraged to enjoy themselves, explore and ask questions before the “exit through the gift shop” treatment and the realization that none of the freebies were actually free: each diner is charged a ¥540 seating fee on top of the bill. Time to break out the Spacium Ray…
B1F 3-1 NOF Kawasaki East Exit Bldg, Ekimae Honcho, Kawasaki. Nearest stn: Kawasaki. www.kaiju-sakaba.com
Photo courtesy of Kaiju Sakaba