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Reviewed - American Graffiti

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-01-08

Time travel to America of the 50ís seems like a dream, but cocktail bar American Graffiti is the closest thing in Okinawa to realizing that dream. Here oldies but goodies flow out from an authentic Wurlizer juke box, and Elvis, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe smile from the walls setting the customer into the right mood.

A cool classic car welcomes the patrons at the entrance to this salute to the 50ís. As I walked around, cute antique toys were everywhere and I couldnít help but thinking that Iím like a kid in some Toyr ĎRí Us. I found a Coca Cola cooler box with a rusty can opener, hesitated for a moment, reached out and opened it. Cold air touched my face. Wow, itís working!! I believe I wasnít the only one to do this.

At 7:30 p.m. I was the first customer, so I took my time to study the interior. Inside the bar is cozy and comfortable. The lights are dim, and the menu contains a wide selection of cocktails, wine and, as this is Okinawa after all, awamori, all priced between •600 and •800. The bar has three original cocktails of their own creation called Peach, Jyuugoya (Full Moon) and Monkey Business, all •600.

The joint offers also light meals, such as a cheesy, crisp pizza, Al Dente boiled pasta, fresh salads, and some Okinawan entrees. According to the manager, Combination Pizza (•600) is the favorite snack of the regulars. Mushroom and White Wine Flavored Pasta (•600), Fried Chicken Italiano (•600), Chicken Cream Stew (•700) and Purobansa of Pork Filet (•750) are also popular.

The Combination Pizza is simply delicious. Your hand reaches automatically for a next slice even before your brain registers it moving. Mushroom and White Wine Flavored Pasta is a light meal with plenty of mushrooms. Fried Chicken Italiano is a salad with fresh lettuce and all white chicken meat. Chicken Cream Stew is wonderful on cool winter nights, and also has plenty of veggies in it. Purobansa of Pork (donít ask me what ĎpurobansaíÓ alludes to, I have no idea) is a pork fillet in tomato sauce, surprisingly good match. All dishes are served in generous portions.

Courteous staff and exceptionally relaxing atmosphere in the bar makes you think twice about stepping out of the door and back to the busy nineties.

American Graffiti is located next to Sueyoshi Park in Shuri, Naha City. To get there, head to Naha City on Highway 58 and turn left at Ajabashi Intersection to Route 82. Go up the hill passing Lotteria and Kentucky Fried Chicken on your left and a large hospital on your right. Sueyoshi Park will be on your left and so is American Graffiti.

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