Baseball, along with soccer, is a popular team sport in Japan. It is so popular that if you ask the average 10 year old what they want to be when they grow up, many would answer “professional baseball player”, or Ichiro. There’s no wonder why restaurants like Baseball Cafe are a family favourite.
This baseball-themed restaurant is located right outside Tokyo Dome, where the Yomiuri Giants baseball team call home. Tokyo Dome can be accessed via Korakuen Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line or Suidobashi Station on the JR East Chuo-Sobu Line or Toei Mita Line.
At the entrance, one is greeted by the wax menu display of western standard sized meals. There’s also a large beer dispenser on display which they call 摩天楼ビアサーバー (“Skyscraper Beer Server”) that one can order. It holds 4 litres worth of beer that you dispense yourself at the table for ¥4,500, which feeds a recommended 6 people. Contrary to many Japanese restaurants which only carry one type of beer, and usually a Japanese brand, this restaurant has some export selections. Specifically, Budweiser. The menu is also typical items you might find familiar, from pastas to hamburgers and ribs to pizza.
Each table gets complimentary freshly popped popcorn for a little ballpark aura. It was near Halloween when I visited so the waiters and waitresses were dressed in costumes. This being Japan, costumes weren’t scary but rather cute. At one point, they started dancing to the Ghostbusters theme song which was all the more entertaining.
As noted in one of my izakaya experiences, restaurants love to play rock-paper-scissors with their customers. The Baseball Café gave away baseball gear to the winner.
I had a Cheese and Bacon Burger for ¥1,290 which came with a side of fries. I was a little disappointed to see a mere sliver of bacon on the patty but not surprised at all. Minimalism is the way to describe food in Japan. For example, when you order a bowl of ramen, you can expect to see half a boiled egg, a slice of nori, a slice of pork, and some veggies topped over a bowl of noodles. You get noodles more than anything. Same goes for a plate of spaghetti. Always do the toppings make you want just a little more. Coming from Toronto, a city that prides itself on the range of cuisines as well as the delectable portions that go hand in hand, it can be an adjustment.
Taste-wise it did what a freshly-made, hearty, juicy burger would do. But I’d say there’s room for improvement. Something was missing, whether this meant the cheese needed to melt a little more, a slice of pickle was missing, or the patty needed an extra kick of flavour.
The highlight of the night was possibly the dance in the middle of the meal. There was a warm, family fun atmosphere in this restaurant which could make a fun occasion for the family or the baseball fanatic in your life. Cheers!