If you saw Al Mancini’s review of Cafe de Japon in CityLife last week, you read his tepid, if generally positive review of this unique Japanese cafe. Al is not known for for his superlatives (especially when it comes to Asian cuisines he has no interest in learning about), so ELV thought he’d ladle on a few.
The filter coffee is as rich and smooth as any we’ve ever had…and worth a special trip all by itself…as is the house-made yuzu soda.
That toronin (also called omurice) omelet which perplexed Mad Man Mancini is a common breakfast, lunch, kid and hangover food in Japan. It goes great with the aforementioned coffee and is served with a rich, red tomato sauce (or ketchup if you will) — something everyone on earth except (apparently) good ole Al has done before.
Despite its intense deliciousness, all he could do in the review was “…admit it was an interesting flavor combination.” Never had ketchup with eggs before Al? What food universe were you raised in?
Our mentaiko (spicy cod roe) pasta was perfectly al dente, and rich with fish eggs and spice — as warming a dish as you could ask for on a cold night. Even better were the garlic green beans with waving bonito flakes (aka okonomiyaki) — food that’s fun to watch as well as eat.
Al also found the mayonnaise dressing on a side salad “boring and unnecessary,” again because he didn’t bother to learn how much the Japanese like the condiment. The house-made mocha roll cake tasted of green tea cream filling and fresh sponge cake, and wasn’t nearly as sweet as Americans like their desserts, something a critic who doesn’t do their homework might mark against it — even though those traits signify its adherence to classic Japanese kisatten (coffee house) cuisine. On the whole though, we’ve gotta give the Al’ster props for hitting something outside his wheelhouse, and for recognizing the tiny, cultural gem this place could soon become.
Our dinner for two came to $56 including tip.
CAFE DE JAPON
5300 Spring Mountain Road #101
Las Vegas, NV 89146