Great Italian food in Japan?
Wow! I had some amazing Italian food last night! Some of the best that I have ever had and I really am looking forward to going back and trying some more… I know that you won’t believe me, but you might want to trust me on this one. The name of the restaurant? Cheese, cheese. Yes, that was the name! So let me repeat myself, the name of an amazing Italian restaurant in Sapporo, Japan is “Cheese, cheese”. Where is it? Well, its in the Susukino District on the bottom floor of the Norbesa Building, which is similar to most in Susukino, except that it has a giant ferris wheel on top of it! Seriously, you can’t miss the ferris wheel and therefore, Cheese, Cheese is very easy to find.
Now, I speak and read absolutely no Japanese so there is always a language barrier when I go to a restaurant, but the experience turned out pretty good. I sat at the bar that surrounds the kitchen which was great. I noticed that every patron was being served something as a precursor to their meal. I wasn’t quite sure what it was until mine was sat before me. It was a fried egg in a cup. I was directed by the chef to immediately stir up the egg and eat it rather than let it cool. So I did. It was nothing spectacular, but interesting. Otherwise, I had only pizza while I was there. I had their Margherita variety, which I tend to really enjoy. The menu was only in Japanese and it had some photos, but mostly, I just said “Pizza”. I also said “Tomato, basil, cheese” (with my best Japanese pronunciation) and the waitress said “Ah, Margherita!” And I said “Yes!”. The pizza was a thin crust version that was about 12″ in diameter. They only have one size, I think.
While I was there, I watched the chef make a pasta that appeared to be alfredo, but it looked absolutely amazing. I watched as he tossed the noodles in the center of a giant hollowed-out wheel of parmesan cheese. Whoah! He tossed and tossed and tossed the hot noodles in the cheese wheel. I can only imagine how the noodles became coated in a layer of parmesan which he then dropped into a creamy serving dish. It looked delicious. Next time, I will try that! And I will be back, and I doubt that it will be too awfully long before I am there!
I also watched the chef as he brought out a new leg of prosciutto, which he placed into a clamping device. He sat it in front of a customer that had ordered some sort of appetizer and he proceeded to carve very thin slices of prosciutto for them. He appeared to be telling them a story in Japanese as he slowly sliced and served them slices of the meat. I was really curious to hear what he had to say, but I couldn’t understand a word of it. It seemed like he might be telling them about the history of prosciutto and the secret life meanings that can be found by taking it in slowly on an autumn Saturday night. It was moderately priced, as I had 1/2 of a pizza and a drink for about $18. I could handle that, but it wouldn’t be enough had I been a little bit hungrier.
Also inside of the building with the ferris wheel, was a looked to be a fun bowling alley. Complete with many cartoonish characters and lovely servers. I think I found a fun evening for our little group of international students. Dinner and drinks at Cheese, cheese; followed by a round of bowling; and finished with a 20 minute ride on the big ferris wheel (1000 Yen/ person).
Update: I went back to Cheese, Cheese to try this amazing pasta alfredo dish that I had seen from across the distance while I was there the first time. I went alone and I only ordered the Pasta Cheese, Cheese (which is what they referred to this dish at a cost of 1800 yen). Natsuki’s (my waitress) masterpiece shall be my dinner! First, piping hot noodles are repeatedly tossed in a hollowed wheel of Parmesan cheese. Then, place noodles back onto hot plate and pour near boiling heavy cream over the piping hot noodles. Top with grated Romano… Let your mouth water as you ponder the flavor. If it were me, I would add some steamed broccoli and maybe a touch of basil, oregano, and thyme. Delicious.
And below you can see my artistic creation that evolved out of the rabbit and name that Natsuki wrote onto my paper table covering upside down as I she sat me. Fun, fun at cheese, cheese!…