When the new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk opened this past Saturday, we swore we’d avoid it like the plague. Lines out the door, center sections so packed you couldn’t move, etc etc.
Well, the workweek rolled around and our resolve started to crumble, so we caved and decided to brave the crowds. Here’s a small taste of what you’ll find at the new Shirokiya.
Tip: Skip to the bottom if you just want to know about the beer!
With 35 different crepes on their one-fourth savory and three-fourths sweet menu, there’s no doubt you’ll find a combination of fillings to try. The savory chicken breast + cheese + homemade basil pesto crepe ($9.50) was like eating a pesto chicken salad in a quesadilla, with the cheese melted between layers of crepe that held up well to its fillings. The sweet matcha + kinako (roasted soy flour) + kuromitsu (black honey) sauce crepe ($8) managed to neatly contain a scoop of matcha ice cream, lots of thick, rich, freshly made whipped cream, and more than enough kuromitsu. They’ll be adding more varieties after July 4th weekend.
Onoya’s Tan Tan Mazesoba ($10) is a generous bowl of mazesoba noodles (think thicker than ramen and thinner than udon) topped with a mixture of dandan stir-fried ground pork, spinach and ham. Gingery, garlicky and little spicy with a hint of peanut—it’s a hearty meal, especially when you add a six-piece yaki gyoza ($4.99) to your order. Don’t forget to mix up your noodles and toppings before digging in.
Who doesn’t love crispy deep fried food? Yoshida Meats fries up a short list of katsus, karaages and croquettes that you can pick up ala carte, as part of a Yoshida Bowl (starting at $7) or as part of a Yoshida Bento (starting at $8). The korokke or croquette ($1.80) and menchi katsu ($2.50), minced beef and pork katsu, are both authentic to their Japanese origins. Both are thick patties of mashed potatoes and meat, respectively, that are breaded and fried to crispy perfection.
Custom thin-cut noodles served in a rich, milky tonkotsu style broth made with three types of pork bone simmered for 20 hours, and mixed with their original sweet and spicy sauce. Just say yes. They only have four menu items—Shiro Ramen ($13), Midori Ramen ($15), Aka Ramen ($15) and Shrimp Ramen ($20). It sounds expensive, but it’ll be worth it once you’re slurping up these silky noodles and thick broth and biting into some tender char siu slices.
Tokyo Hot Dogs
Just like America’s favorite pastime of baseball, the Japanese have embraced another American favorite—hottodoggu! Tokyo Hot Dogs takes roller-grilled hot dogs, stuffs them into pillowy-soft steamed buns and piles them high with extremely Japanese toppings like yakisoba, chicken karaage and natto. Other crazy dog creations include the loco moco dog with hamburger and a fried egg, kimchee and mapo tofu. Their top seller is the filling yakisoba dog topped with fried yakisoba noodles, kewpie mayo, pickled ginger, lettuce and nori—it pairs well with the $1 Primo beer you can get at the same counter near the Wagyu Plaza.
Hikotaro Kyoto Sweets
Hikotaro Kyoto Sweets serves classic Japanese sweets like strawberry and matcha kakigori (a type of shave ice dessert), matcha milkshakes and cream sodas with real whipped cream, and grilled dango mochi. The matcha, sweet milk and azuki bean kakigori ($5.50) had us all heart-eyes emoji. Shaved ice topped with matcha syrup is sweetened by a light cream drizzle and each bite is rounded out with a smear of sweet azuki bean paste. Our kinako and kuromitsu dango ($1.50) made for a great side. Hikotaro also has anmitsu, oshiruko zenzai (sweet red bean soup) and fish shaped monaka (taiyaki).
Fear not, former beer garden regulars! Shirokiya has done you a solid. All-day $1 beers. You read that correctly, ALL DAY! In fact, all those great beer garden happy hour deals that you used to love are now all-day deals for beer, sake, shochu and wine.
Tips to make your drinking experience more enjoyable:
• Have your ID (21 and over only, duh) and a table ready because they don’t want you walk all over the place with your alcohol.
• Find the four mini beer counters in each corner of the store, in addition to large central counter, to find the $1 beer of your liking. Each counter only serves ONE type of $1/glass beer—Bud Light, PBR, Primo or Sapporo.
• Beer towers can only be purchased at the central counter, starting at $5 for Bud Light and going up to $11 for Sapporo.
Enjoy exploring Shirokiya Japan Village Walk for yourself. Cheers!