When I think of Denny’s, I think of two things.  Old people eating the Grand Slam breakfast early in the morning, or young people eating the Grand Slam breakfast in the middle of the night.  I think of greasy breakfast food that really tastes the best at 3am.  I know they have other menu items, but I don’t know anybody that has ever ordered anything outside of the breakfast menu.  Denny’s is a place you usually end up at because you don’t want to go home.  You only go there because you can’t go anywhere else.  Denny’s may be open 24/7 in Japan too, but it’s a whole different story.

After a mild morning of some local store browsing, we decided to go to Denny’s for lunch.  You’re probably thinking, “You traveled all the way to Japan and you went to Denny’s for lunch!?”  Well, the only things that are the same at the Japanese Denny’s are the sign and the look of the restaurant.  Other than that, it’s completely different.

The only pancakes on the menu are on the dessert menu served with ice cream and a caramel sauce with a mint garnish.  You can get eggs, but they are served over rice with a curry sauce.  Or they have shrimp and shitake mushrooms in them.  You can get a hamburger, but it doesn’t have a bun, its covered with different sauce options and is served with rice, and miso soup.  Or you can get a plate of spaghetti with clams, squid, eggplant, or fancy Japanese mushrooms.  If you want something lighter you can get a salad.  But again, Japanese salads are not like our’s.  They are side dishes that usually consist of eggs, or big chunks of tomato with cubes of tofu, and very little lettuce.  I love Japanese food, but they don’t do salads or hot dogs very well.

The service at Denny’s is very different too.   I find that Japan isn’t exactly the warmest, friendliest place, but it’s extremely polite.  And because of this, customer service just about anywhere you go is fantastic!  Of all the times I’ve been to Japan, I’ve never had a single bad customer service experience.  You are greeted with a big smile and then ushered to your seat.  Instead of the server keep coming back to check on you, you ring a door bell when you are ready to order.  You get all this happy smiley service without even having to tip either.  You don’t have to tip in Japan.

This Denny’s in particular had ridiculously small bathrooms.  If you are a dude and needed to go #2, this would not be the place to do it.  The men’s room was the size of an airplane bathroom (at best) and didn’t have a toilet, only a urinal (they did, however have a unisex bathroom for dudes who needed to do a #2, but at first glance you only saw the “women’s” and “men’s” room.)  And to think I get upset back home when a men’s room doesn’t have a baby changing station.

Aya ordered hamburg with porcini mushroom brown sauce and rice, with a side of fried oysters and I got hamburg with shaved daicon radish and Ponzu sauce with grilled vegetables.  Ellie got to try both.  She’s been eating like a champ while we are here.  She is eating a lot and eating a variety of things.  While I’m happy, I get upset when I think of all the things I cook for her that she rejects back at home.  Now I know I need to cook more with wakame seaweed and fermented soy beans (she’s been gobbling those up like it was ice cream or something).

If the unique menu items aren’t exciting enough, where Japanese Denny’s really shines is their desserts!  Their dessert menu looks like a gourmet dessert shop.  Sundaes, yogurts, crepes, waffles, pancakes, and sorbets with fresh fruits and mint garnishes all presented like they are aimed to win a cooking competition.  Chocolate, green tea, sweet bean, pumpkin, kiwi, and berry are among some of the options.  So while we didn’t get dessert this time, believe me, I’ll be back!  Good thing they’re open 24 hours.  Next time I have a craving at 3am, I can go to Denny’s for their purple potato and pumpkin ice cream sundae.

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