The writers at our Japanese-language sister site are sometimes like kids after eating way too much candy: Adventurous and ambitious but rarely without any clear plans. And that’s why we love them! There’s nothing quite as fun as seeing something familiar through the eyes of someone whose never experienced it before.
As such, our globetrotting Go has proven to be an excellent guinea pig for testing classic Americana: He’s failed to impress at Area 51 and discovered that Denny’s in the US isn’t quite what it is in Japan. On the quest for “real American meat,” he decided to find a proper restaurant so he could ask for the chef’s choice. But would he enjoy what he found? Or would Nevada ultimately destroy our brave writer’s faith in American cuisine?
As you can tell from the photos, Go managed to end up in a location that practically fell out of John Wayne western. The restaurant our intrepid writer ended up at was The Brandin’ Iron, a name so westerny he couldn’t even figure out how to rewrite it in katakana (the Japanese syllabary for writing foreign words). As for why he ended up here, well, it turned out to be the only place open!
▼ The interior is almost as good as Little Texas in Tokyo.
Of course, Go seemed to enjoy the atmosphere. “You almost expect gunmen to appear and have a shoot out,” he told us. However, it sounds like the joint was empty aside for our Japanese traveler — which sounds like the beginning of one of the Akira Kurosawa films so many westerns were based on!
Finding a seat by himself, Go looked around and was soon greeted by a waitress, decked out in a western-style outfit, who brought him a menu. Noticing how pretty the woman was, Go couldn’t help greeting her back, maybe just a bit too enthusiastically. And then, in his best English, he blurted out:
Well, if nothing else, we have to give him points for pluck and courage, and that’s how the west was won after all (along with a little bit of genocide)! He was, obviously, asking for her recommendation.
While Go realizes his English might nit have been entirely correct, the waitress seemed to understand what he wanted and quickly brought out a blackboard, presumably with the day’s specials written on it. “Is this okay?” she asked, pointing at one of the items.
Though Go wasn’t entirely sure what he was ordering, he noticed “BEEF” was written in the description. Even without asking for meat, she had recommended it — and that was exactly what he wanted. Miracles are real!
▼ This is not a miracle. Just horribly awesome photoshopping.
The waitress then proceeded to explain the menu to our somewhat dazed and confused writer as he struggled to follow her. “She seems to be telling me the day’s specials,” he thought. “And something about it coming with salad?” The only thing he was certain of was that there was BEEF involved.
However, like a good traveler, he smiled and pretended to understand everything, nodding along. Eventually, he asked, “Beef?” and this delightful conversation ensued.
Waitress: “Yes! Beef!”
Go: “Meat? It’s meat?”
Go: “Great! I love beef!”
Go: “Beef! Beef! Beer! Do you have beer?”
Waitress: “No! But we have coke.”
While it’s not exactly a sterling example of discourse in the English language, our writer was able to confirm that there was a good chuck of dead animal in his meal. Once the waitress had taken his order and disappeared, he peeked into the kitchen and spotted her preparing his salad.
His salad appeared, followed shortly by the “chef’s choice.” The plate contained a bowl full of corn, which he deemed superb, leading us to the conclusion that Go has not spent much time in the Midwest. And next to the corn was a mound of what he thought was beef stew and rice or maybe curry and rice.
Go suddenly realized that the menu item he’d selected, the menu item he could neither read nor under the explanation of, was beef stew and rice. This was the chef’s choice here in Nevada?
But wait…let’s dig in a moment and…
▼ That’s not rice!
On closer inspection, our Photoshop-loving writer suddenly realized it was mashed potatoes that lurked beneath the beef stew dressing! Which, really, makes a lot more sense, if you ask us.
▼ And makes us hungry.
So, how did Go like his beef stew on mashed potatoes? Well, we’ll let him explain.
“After eating about half of it, I became utterly sick of it. I just couldn’t eat any more. It had a kind of simple taste. I even tried mixing in some corn part way through, but there was so much to eat to begin with! In the end I just gave up. But that’s meat and potatoes for you. Meat and potatoes!! I just couldn’t win against that combination.”
After a bit of reflection, Go added that everywhere he went in the US, it seemed like his order ended up being “meat and potatoes.” And add to that a soft drink, and everything was just “meat and potatoes and sugar-water!” He couldn’t help feeling as if he had seen the origin of American food culture in Nevada.
We feel compelled to add that while Go might have been overwhelmed by the volume of food, the restaurant has plenty of good reviews online. We’re guessing that if you find yourself passing through Caliente, Nevada, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy a meal at the Bradin’ Iron. We’re going to chalk this one up to cultural differences.
The Brandin’ Iron
Address: 190 Clover St Caliente, NV 89008
All images © RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]