Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bravo Yokosuka

Location: Bravo Yokosuka

Rating: Very good
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  970 yen
Payment:  Cash only
Dishes:  Chicken shishkebab, salad, pita bread (latter two not on the menu)
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Outside only

Update - 7/30/2016 - I'm very sad to report that it appears Bravo Yokosuka has closed!  I'm not sure what the deal is or if their other mobile unit is still operational along Dobuita St, but I'll update here if I find out.

I know, that's a hamburger up top, but they don't really have a sign and the fact that they are making char-grilled burgers is a bit of interesting news.  I haven't tried it yet, but hey, it might be good.

So there's a bit of a long story behind this place.  It's very new.  The owners previously had a tiny little place on Dobuita Street in the middle of the "honch" area.  It's not nice there really.  In my scavenging of Yokosuka for decent "arabic" food (mostly just shawarma stands that aren't very good) this place stood out.  Their shawarma isn't all that different, but their chicken shishkebab sticks are the absolute best in town.  Lots of meat for 500 yen.  We used to stop by there sometimes and get a few sticks to take home and eat with rice and veg.  We were quite friendly with them.  I don't know why, but most of the other "arabic" places have a very smarmy vibe to them.  Not so with our Egyptian friends.

Sadly for them, there was a fire in their building and it burned to the ground.  They had to buy a little truck and park it across the street.  Unfortunately, they could only do their shawarmas, which made me selfishly a little sad.  *But* they told me that eventually they would be buying a weird little building on blue street that housed a strange gift shop and moving there.  I was elated!  However, it took much longer than I thought to finally take place.

They had a soft opening a few weeks ago and I bought some chicken sticks and brought them home.  Yay!  They were supposed to start serving shisha too on upstairs balcony, which I was excited about.  But then they were closed for about 3 weeks, though the little trailer was still open.  Apparently the owner had to make an emergency trip back to Egypt.  Finally, they were back open last night and I was able to stop by to see how things have been progressing.

I tried the it is, a bit heavy on the onions
First, their menu is finished, and the surprise of a hamburger was waiting!  Normally I wouldn't care, but these guys char-grill everything fresh, so it has a chance of being really good.  But I wanted my chicken, and while there seemed to be a lot of new individual dishes (mousaka, ratatouille, falafel sandwich) there weren't many other things I was hoping they would have such as salads (fatoush, tabbouleh) or bread dips (hummous, mutabel, baba ghanoush, foul).  Also, bread itself is not on the menu except as part of a sandwich.  However, when I asked them to make some kind of salad or veg and give me some bread too, they obliged and tacked on a little to the 500 yen for a stick of chicken (so about 470 yen for the salad/bread).  I will continue to try and persuade them to add these things to menu and hopefully we'll have a full blown "egyptian/lebanese" restaurant pretty soon!

By the way, the meal itself was wonderful.  A little small, but I didn't need much.  Of course I could always have ordered two sticks or asked for more bread.  BTW, the owner mentioned that soon he will have lamb shishkebab too, which should be fabulous.

The ambience of the restaurant is...ok, not really the full experience, a bit stunted with just a few small tables.  I wish they wouldn't play constant video of belly dancers though, I'll have to put my son in the corner where he won't be able to see it if we ever go as a family.  But at least smoking inside is not permitted, and the bar will be upstairs only.

About the bless their hearts, but they said they could do shisha for me.  I was excited, so I said I'd eat my food in the aircon and then go upstairs to have shisha and tea.  After I was done, I said "ok, ready for shisha" and went upstairs to wait.  And wait, and wait...  At one point I came down and said  "is it coming" and was witness to some crazy running around.  I said I'd wait in the air conditioning.  I waited some more.  Then I said maybe I would skip the shisha if they weren't ready to serve it, but the owner said no, he wanted to smoke with me, so I stuck it out a bit more.  Finally it was ready and I started smoking.  It was good at first, but the coals weren't fully cooked, so the heat died down too quickly.  They kept bringing coals up which quickly died down.  Finally I got a good piece and the owner came up to chat and smoke.  Then the first bowl was finished and I made to leave but was forced to sit back down and smoke *another* bowl with the owner.  Finally after a total ordeal of about 3 hours (most of which was spent in the sultry humid evening air) I was allowed to go home.  Arabic hospitality can be an intimidating force!

Anyway, I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, it was very generous of them.  And to top it off, they didn't charge me for the shisha!  Or maybe I forgot to pay, I'm not sure which.  I'll find out later tonight when I stop by to try and pay.  Ultimately, I think they are going to be *the* place to have arabic food and good shisha in town.  I can't say how happy I am to have such a thing here!  And I can see them from my balcony!  And such nice people.  I hope to upgrade them to an excellent when or if they get some more of the items mentioned above onto the menu.

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