Thursday, October 7, 2010

TGI Friday's, Roppongi

TGI Friday's was never on my list of must-go restaurants, either in the US or in Tokyo, but when a friend half-jokingly suggested it, I was on board right away. It's always fun to see how American culture gets reinterpreted by and for the Japanese, and Friday's didn't disappoint. From the waiters in cowboy bandannas to the overstuffed red vinyl booth benches, the atmosphere was about as stereotypically American as you can get. The water came in huge, ice-filled glasses, a striped straw sticking up the middle. The menu offered a perplexingly boundless choice of heart-unhealthy fare. But Americans know that when faced with options, someone's got to be the decider, and that someone is us.
So decide we did, first on a shared appetizer of fried macaroni and cheese. I don't know if this reflects badly on my patriotism, but I had never heard of this particular poison, despite the fact that it would have fit in seamlessly on the Southern menus and cafeteria lines of my Alabama childhood. Don't ask me how mac and cheese can be turned into fried cubes - but apparently it can. They were greasily delicious.
Just because this was TGI Friday's doesn't mean everything on the menu was as American as fried mac and cheese, though. As soon as I saw that they had mentaiko spaghetti, I knew what I was having for lunch. The creamy sauce of spicy pink fish-roe, the big pile of shredded nori and daikon radish sprouts, and the long strands of pasta are a killer combination that I only wish was available on the Friday's menu back home. As the placemat says: The Taste of Texas. The Passion of Mexico. Just where mentaiko spaghetti fits into that ethos I'm not sure, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Roppongi 3-12-6

and other locations across Japan

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