Roxanne (Yoshoku), Shimokitazawa

Though we unfortunately see less and less of them, Japan used to be filled with Yoshokuya, those restaurants serving Western-style food with a strong Japanese touch and interpretation. Those older and older joints specialized in Omuraisu (omelette stuffed with chicken rice), Kare Raise (curry rice), Napolitan (ketchup based sauce pasta) or Korokke (Japanese savory croquettes) among a myriad of other great recipes, have slowly but surely given way to the now way more popular, classier and obviously more authentic Italians, French or Indian.

Same goes for the good-old smoky Kissaten (Japanese-style cafe) with their drip brew, Piza Tosuto (pizza style toast) or Morning Service (breakfast with butter/margarine/strawberry jam toast, eggs, ham/bacon, salad and tea/coffee) and their charmingly demode decor and feel. They have gradually lost the battle against the big and cheap coffee shop chain like "Doutor" or more recently "Starbucks", and are now on the way to sadly becoming an extincting species.

It looks "old" even in color...

What's great about "Roxanne" is that you can enjoy both what make the qualities of Yoshokuyas and Kissatens in one establishment, basically the (slightly "upscale") b-list menu from the former and the out-of-fashion look from the latter.
By the way, the name of the restaurant, which owners are neither Cyrano de Bergerac nor The Police fan, comes from the first name of the manager's now defunct father Rokusaburo, whose family and friends used to fondly call Roku-san.

From among the Napolitan, Bongole (spaghetti alle vongole, with clams in white sauce) or Lasagna in the Pasta department, the different salads, the Gyu-Tan Shichu (beef tongue stew), the Guratan (gratin) or the Piza etc, we opted for the first and last one. I went for the very popular Pizza while my wife chose the Napolitan Spaghetti.

When ordering a pizza, you need to choose between Medium (23cm and ¥750) or Large (way bigger at ¥1,300), to which you can add from about twenty toppings each at ¥80 (salami, green pepper, anchovy, corn, tuna, sausage, meatball, onion, shrimp, squid, clam, oil sardine etc...).
I went for the most uncreative Salami and Green Pepper. It was good, but nothing to really scream out loud for. It has obviously nothing to do with the Neapolitan pizza they serve you in all those classy pizzerias with wood-fired brick ovens, and is way closer to what you eat in the US. The crust is bread-like in taste and firmness, and the yellowish and little bit greasy cheese is quite salty and flavorful. It's well baked and satisfying. The brings-back-memories kind of pizza I used to eat when I was a kid.
Just remember, it is no gourmet cuisine.

As I said earlier, my wife went for the Napolitan, which contrary to our belief of what that dish looks (red-orange ish) and tastes like (ketchup based with sauteed sausages and onion), was rather soupy, lightly-tomato flavored, pale in color and oregano-spiced. Once again, nothing extraordinary. An OK dish.

During lunch, you can get a middle-sized pizza with two free toppings, a green salad and a cup of tea/coffee for ¥900. Not bad.
For your information, the "Mentaiko Supageti" ( pasta seasoned with butter, fresh cream and marinated pollock (not the painter...) roe) the two old ladies next to us were devouring looked pretty good!

Roxanne is in this quite little street, just 20 meters away from the bustling main shopping street. The trees in front of the restaurant gives an intimate hide-away quality to the place and add a nostalgic atmosphere to the whole.You might not want to try this place if you're looking to jaw-dropping delicious fares, but you will probably enjoy it if you want to experience a little bit of history...

"Roxanne" is closed on Wednesday, and opened the rest of the week from 11:30am to 16:00pm and 17:30pm to 23:00pm
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