EDIT! UPDATE AND EDIT! Grabstri closed down. Then they demolished the building too, which is a little extreme but, well, it wasn't that great really. Don't worry about the Meer Lounge people though, they opened a new place in Susukino called PEACE with really uncomfortable stools. I'll leave this post up for posterity but kill the tags. Is that ok?
Oh boy, pretty soon every trendy, somewhat bohemian bar and restaurant in Sapporo is going to be owned by the Meer Lounge dude. I wonder if he could be described as 'shadowy'? That would be cool. Hot on the heels of World Japanese Foodin' EN, that I blogged about last year, January saw the interestingly monikered Grabstri open in Kita 24 Jyo.
I'm really not trying to plug this little chain of bars too much, honestly. I was in Kita 24 Jyo and picked up a flyer for the place, then didn't know it had anything to do with Meer Lounge or EN until we went there and saw the menu. The flyer, by the way, features their slogan - "Let's Tacos", which I would hope a lot of people will find grating (the common "Let's [NOUN]" construction of Japanese ad copy tends to grate on most native English speakers) but for me just shows how inured I've become, in that it didn't bug me that much. Also I kinda fancied Tacos, which really aren't common in Japan.
Well, turns out that much like EN, Grabstri offers a contemporary Japanese take on the dish. All the food we had was great, and I'd certainly recommend the place, but I don't think their tacos are all that taco-like in anything other than basic construction. Then, I'm English! What the hell do I know about Mexican food? Only Americans know about Mexican food. Eh, Mexicans too probably.
Grabstri is a smaller, more humble looking place than EN (though it shares a few quirks of decor), less of a restaurant, more of a bar with food, but they had a pretty big menu to choose from. The tacos (soft or deep fried) are the centre-piece, but we also had these deep fried shrimp cakes that were just incredible.
It's located really centrally to Kita 24 Jyo, about a minute from the North exit of the subway, and I've marked it on the map too! Good food, perfectly good beer and a nice feel to the place, so go check it out.