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Jan 2005
Issue 056

Out now!

1for81 —
Get stuffed in Shinsaibashi

Many of us have had this problem. After staying up all Saturday night in Shinsaibashi, no matter how much you may love Japanese cuisine, no one wants natto, fish, and raw egg over rice before catching first train home and crashing or (God forbid!) taking a shower and going to work. This is when most of us are at
our most Western: we want eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, a bagel, maybe some orange juice, and coffee. Definitely coffee. With the opening of the new restaurant 1for81, the dreams of partyers and anyone else looking to get stuffed have finally been realized. Located on Suomachi Dori about a five minute walk from the station in the heart of Shinsaibashi, you won't have to go very far either.

Despite being named after the fact that there are
a lot of restaurants in Japan (1 for every 81 people), Howie Adelman, the owner and a New York native who has lived in Japan for three years, has tried to do something different. He says he wanted to open a restaurant that served the food he wanted but could never find, and this commitment shows.

In addition to the Sunday morning breakfast from 4:00 to 9:00am (2 eggs any style, home fries, bacon or sausage, a bagel and coffee with free refills for ¥1000), they're also open from 5:00pm to midnight every day, when in addition to breakfast he’s also serving some of the biggest, best Italian-style hero sandwiches you're likely to see in Japan. Chicken parmigiana, meatball parmi-giana, and for the vegetarians eggplant parmigiana and a potato, egg, and cheese sandwich; the food is rich and hearty, and the portions are massive.

The breakfast is a welcome sight after getting used to the serving sizes at most restaurants here, and the heroes are impressive, two-handed affairs. He'll cut the sandwich in half for you and even provide knife and fork, but the true hero aficionado knows that uncut with your hands is the only way to go. At ¥800 they are a great deal too (extras like onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes are ¥40 each). The BLT (¥600), peanut butter and jelly (¥500), and the more Elvis peanut butter, honey and banana (¥600) are even cheaper. "I like the look on people's faces when they're really full from good food" Howie says. Drinks aren't expensive either — soda, juice, and coffee with refills are ¥300, beer is ¥600, and you can get harder stuff as well (ask if you're interested). If you can't finish one of these monsters (sissy), don't worry — another much-sought after rarity in Japan, 1for81 will wrap up leftovers to take with you.

The owner's goal of making a restaurant he would want to eat in is apparent in the atmosphere as well. Recessed lighting gives the restaurant a hip look, but the feeling is above all comfortable. Pictures on the walls and other decor lend a personal touch, but the main source of the relaxed vibe one gets comes from the people in the restaurant: Howie himself; Eri, his lovely fiancée who can often be found working behind the counter; and the other customers who are likely to strike up a conversation.

Though the food is very New York, the clientele is international — a good mix of Japanese and foreigners, all of which adds to the friendliness of the place. "A lot of times people stay and talk after they're done eating, and everyone gets so comfortable that they get up and are halfway to the door before either of us remember he needs to pay" Howie says (though trying to make it all the way to the door is not recommended). So come in, strike up a conversation, and, as the logo says, get stuffed.

Elegance Building 2F,
#6 Higashi-Shinsaibashi
Open: Everyday 5pm to midnight, Sundays 4am to 9am
Tel: 080-3806-8849

Text & Photos: Ian Werkheiser


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