When Mike and our friends were in Japan, we spent our first 4 days in the country in a town called Shin-Okubo, which is known as Shinjuku’s “Korea Town.” Because it is a Korean neighborhood, naturally, tons of Korean shops and restaurants can be found here. To be honest, we weren’t exactly excited about it at first. I mean, we went to Japan to eat Japanese food! Nevertheless, some of the nearby Korean restaurants were intriguing, including this particular one:
The sign was in Korean except for the “& bar” so we didn’t know exactly what the first half of that phrase or sentence meant. Like I said, we weren’t really looking and craving for Korean food… until we passed by this restaurant and saw the lip-smacking photo of what looked like glazed beef swimming in a plate of thick cheese.
The menu outside was all in Korean so we didn’t know what that meat and cheese dish was, exactly — or if it really was meat and cheese. This restaurant was just a few steps from our hotel so we would always go by it whenever we went out or whenever Mike and Eric went for a smoke. Because we were so curious, we thought of eating there during our stay, but it was always closed during the day whenever we walked past it.
Finally, after 4 days of being haunted by thoughts of the meat-and-cheese dish, after coming home from Robot Restaurant, we decided to have dinner there, and we were fortunate that it was finally open!
We were entertained by this Korean dude who was also the owner of the restaurant. He was very friendly and very hands on with his business. He was the receptionist, waiter, chef, and host all in one! He also told us that the restaurant is called “Oppa,” which literally means “older brother” in Korean. Don’t be weirded out though if you hear a Korean girl calling her male partner “oppa.” It’s probably not incest. It’s also a term used in a romantic relationship when a female refers to her male partner who is older than or about the same age as her.
The owner was quite friendly. Though he spoke in broken English, he tried his best to strike up a conversation with us and explained the dishes to us. Speaking of dishes, we only ordered two (plus one dessert) because we weren’t really that hungry. The first dish we ordered was this platter of fried everything — calamari, onion rings, chicken poppers, dumplings, and vegetable rolls. Everything was crispy and really yummy! This is best shared by 2-4 persons, and is great to have when you’re drinking beer with your pals.
The second dish was what we really went there for! It was time to give in to our hankering for that mystery dish that kept luring us back to that restaurant. Yes, it was confirmed. It was indeed beef immersed in creamy, mouth-watering, and rich mozzarella cheese with spices. It was as good as it looked in the photo. No, better. It certainly did not disappoint and I would gladly go back to Shin-okubo over and over again if only for this dish!
We finished off our meal with this delicious dessert — vanilla ice cream sandwiched in crispy wafers. Yum! It was very light, which provided a good balance to our meal after we just devoured beef dunked in cheese and a couple of other fried snacks!
I don’t really have that much information on this restaurant except for this. Sorry! 😀 If you do want to make a reservation and if you have any inquiries, call 03-6278-9461. Oppa Restaurant is within walking distance from the JR Shin-Okubo station in Shinjuku and is within walking distance from Shin-Okubo International Hotel.