Junkadelic
Naka-Meguro: Mexican
Junkadelic (Naka-Meguro: Mexican)
Junkadelic
Open 6pm-2am. Closed Wednesdays.
late: Open late
Sun: Open Sundays

Top-quality Tex-Mex food is pretty rare in Tokyo, so Junkadelic is an exciting find. The owner lived in San Diego for several years, and the kitchen turns out credible versions of the Tex-Mex standards found in that part of the world, plus a few surprises. Although the Naka-Meguro location is off the beaten track, the good food, frendly service and very relaxed atmosphere make it worth a special trip.

The menu starts off with familiar standards like fajitas (your choice of corn or flour tortillas), burritos, enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, and chimichangas. Digging a bit deeper, you'll also find nice chili rellenos (mild chili peppers stuffed with meat), seafood empanada (reminiscent of a Mexican-style Chinese stir-fry), and arroz con camarones (Mexican rice with fantastic plump shrimps and two different chili sauces).

One of our favorite dishes here is the birria - a hearty lamb stew made with tender meat and lots of vegetables in a rich sauce. It's not on the regular menu but you can often find it on the specials board, which is always worth studying. Another recommendation is the juicy sauteed shrimp in garlic, which is far more onion- and cilantro-oriented than the Spanish version of this dish that's so popular in Tokyo these days.

Pretty much everything we've tried here is good. Our only complaint is that the food just isn't spicy enough - most of the dishes are toned down quite a bit compared the versions you'd find in Southern California. If you like it hot, we'd suggest a side order of jalapenos (Y300) to add to your dishes.

The dining area is anchored by an open kitchen to one side and an equally big bar in back, a hint that the drinks selection is just as important as the food. Of course you'll find margaritas, along with some 20 kinds of tequila by the shot. More surprisingly there are also 20 twenty kinds of premium rum. You can choose from several Mexican beers, but our pick is the Liberty Ale, an American craft beer that goes very well with the food.

The atmosphere at Junkadelic is comfortably bohemian - more funk than junk really, and the kind of place where customers sport knit caps and goatees. There's a small DJ setup and a decent sound system, with music ranging from Latin to country to jam bands. The spacious dining room was cobbled together behind an old storefront on an obscure back street. It's easy to find though - just walk from Naka-Meguro station along the right side of the tracks towards Yutenji for about five or six minutes and you're there. Budget around Y2000-4000 for dinner with drinks. (English menus, English spoken.)


by Scott Cooper
Naka-Meguro
Meguro-ku, Kami-Meguro 4-10-4.
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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended