Brooklyn Parlor, Shinjuku
This atmospheric cafe in Shinjuku is so well loved that every time I've visited there's been a wait to get in. But if you have the extra time, it's always worth it.
Chic decor and a creative yet affordable menu combine to make Brooklyn Parlor one of the most popular dining spots in Tokyo. From the same company as the famous Blue Note Jazz Club, Brooklyn Parlor is an ode to the New York hipster culture that’s recently taken over Brooklyn, NY, and the result is pretty chill. The walls are stacked with various books on art and music, soft jazz floats from the speakers and warm, amber lighting gives the dining room a slightly romantic vibe. If you’re lucky you can grab a seat on the sofa. Everything about the place seems to say relax, stay a while.
The decor sets up high expectations, and the food does not disappoint. One thing many North American expats in Japan miss is a good plate of buffalo chicken wings. Brooklyn Parlor’s got you covered. Although the size is smaller (much smaller) than what you would find in any restaurant in New York, they’re drenched in tangy, spicy buffalo sauce and come with a delicious blue cheese dip. A 10-piece plate is ¥800.
We also tried the rib-eye steak with (whole grain) mustard—the most expensive thing on the lunch menu at ¥1,500. The steak was flavorful and served medium to medium-well, and the mustard added a nice zing. But the crispy, shoe string French fries are what get me every time. They’re incredibly addictive.
For dessert of course we had to try the cheesecake to see if it lived up to the New York standard. It was decent, but didn’t blow us away. Instead, go for the mixed berry pretzel plate with soft ice cream. The berries were sweet and the pretzel was crunchy on the outside, but fluffy and warm on the inside.
Brooklyn Parlor’s menu is constantly evolving, resulting in interesting fusions like a salad with “peanut butter flavored caesar dressing” or the latest drink: homemade “pepper and blueberry” liquor. There is also an extensive drink list featuring a Brooklyn Lager.
The creative and ever-changing menu and tranquil ambiance are just a taste of why I, and many others if the lines are any indication, return time and again to this trendy eatery.
Address: B1F Shinjuku Marui Annex, 3-1-26 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 11:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m.