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Nathan's Famous now in Tokyo

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Restaurants & Bars

Nathan's Famous now in Tokyo

Robb S. | Dec 30, 2003 11:21 PM

Nathan's Famous recently (Dec. 18) opened their first franchised shop in Japan, in Tokyo right in the center of Harajuku (next to the Gap). There's a kiosk on the street, and a 20-seat restaurant area downstairs on the basement level.

I have to say I was suprised that the hot dogs do have quite a different flavor from local Japanese hot dogs (the best of which is the Kogen Lettuce Dog at Dotour, by the way) - smokier and beefier somehow. And it's nice to get sauerkraut with your dog instead of just lettuce. The crinkle cut French Fries are also quite different from anything previously available in town - they seem like they were actually made from potatoes.

I was less impressed by their cheese steak supreme - there seemed to be some vital ingredient missing (more sauteed onions? some kind of sauce? lots more cheese?) - but I don't know enough about cheese steaks to be able to tell what's wrong. The clam chowder was okay, but I didn't find any clams, only potatoes. I have yet to try the teriyaki cheese steak, the grilled chicken sandwich, the chicken tender sandwich (looks like randomly shaped chicken nuggets), or the chicken salad.

I wonder if all those chicken dishes were added in response to the very recent Japanese ban on importing American beef, and I wonder what effect the ban will have on their business. (Perhaps they already have a year's worth of frozen hot dogs in a storehouse somewhere?) I hope they do well, but I couldn't help noticing that their location is right across the street from where the first Japanese branch of Sbarro's was located several years ago, during the brief period when they were in business here.

Link: http://www.bento.com/tokyofood.html

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