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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

[Japan] Coco's Restaurant

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Location Review
28−1 Teradai, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0022, Japan

Have you ever played the game Cooking Mama? It was actually the very first game that I got for my Nintendo DS, and it just amused me so much. It might've been the mindless nature of the game, but I think part of the attraction was seeing all the Japanese dishes and how they're made. If you've ever played it, then you might remember making the hamburg steak. That was probably my favourite dish to make! Anyways, while I was in Japan I finally got to try this dish, and put a taste to all those digital ones that I made!

Rob and I came to this location of Coco's in Narita, Japan. Narita is where Japan's international airport is located (Narita Internationl Airport), but aside from that, the town is pretty rural. I don't think people typically visit Narita as a tourist, and it definitely wasn't on our list of places to see.  So why were we all the way out here in the boonies? Well, we had Hurricane Roke to thank for this. The day we were supposed to leave Japan, our flight was delayed. But I guess it wasn't all bad, we got to stay another day in beautiful Japan!

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View of Narita near Coco's Restaurant

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Coco's Restaurant

In almost every way, Coco's reminds me of a Denny's. The restaurant style, the food, it all resembles a more family-diner type of place. Coco's is currently owned by parent company Zen Sho, with over 500 locations world wide, predominantly Japan and U.S.A. Reasonably, the menu is tweaked to be more suitable for the culture in each geographical location.

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Coco's Restaurant Menu

They had the cutest menus here! Not sure why but they had Doramon everywhere, but I sure soaked all the cuteness up. The menu had lots of  family style Western Japanese dishes as well as traditional style ones.

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After you order, you are informed of the well-equipped self-serve drink bar that they offer. Tons of fancy tea leaves, gourmet coffee machines, and soft drinks.

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We decided to try a Melon Fanta while we were at it. Super sweet and artificial tasting as expected.

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Situated right beside the drink bar was a soup station where you can help yourself to some hot soup. Had lots of seaweed and mushrooms, and was just the thing to kick start the appetite.

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Hamburg Steak (719 Yen, or $10 CAD)

As anticipated, the Japanese Hamburg Steak! Let's see, how to describe it? It just tasted like an overly greasy meatloaf. Okay, maybe I'm under-crediting it a bit, because it did taste good with the diced onions and whatever else was in the meat, but it did fall just a bit short of my heightened expectations. The meat itself was mediocre quality too. However, I must admit that in combination with the egg and potato wedges, it satisfied some comfort food cravings. This set came with a dinner roll, egg, and a side of what I can only describe as popcorn chicken.

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Popcorn Chicken

While the popcorn chicken looked really dry on the outside, the insides were surprisingly juicy and tender. Really good!

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Coco's Special Sauce

Added some of Coco's special sauce for some flavour. Tastes like a sweet bbq sauce.

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Raw Tuna Bowl Lunch Set (819 Yen, or $11 CAD)

A solid tuna bowl, but I really wish there was more tuna for the large amount of rice that they give you. I find that all the food here is very "homestyle", as if someone's grandma is in the kitchen cooking everything (perhaps it's Cooking Mama? :D) Nothing overly fancy, just traditional dishes that would stir up some childhood sentiments.

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I originally thought the soup that came with the tuna bowl was the same as the one from the soup bar, but it's a little different. Another type of shroom and less watered down. The stock essentially tasted the same.

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The Bill

Overall, it was an alright meal at Coco's. I wouldn't say it was outstanding compared to some of the other food I've had, although Western Japanese wasn't really the type of food I anticipated on eating when I planned this trip. But hey, at least now I can return to Canada and play Cooking Mama fully aware of how the hamburg steak dish acutally tastes like!