Nakasu, Fukuoka’s red light district, is home to many of Fukuoka’s finest restaurants and bars, but unfortunately, few foreigners will ever find them. Here’s a gem that, despite its address, is worth crossing town for. Squeeze down a long, narrow corridor and prepare to leave Nakasu behind as you enter a hidden, restored Japanese inn complete with a center garden. The tatami has been replaced with wooden flooring, and the American diner style tables and chairs are decidedly more Nevada than Kyoto. But it’s exactly this calculated in-balance that work so well. The menu features creative fusion dishes like the Layered Tomato Slices and Soft Boiled White Chicken Citrus, Duck with Maple Sauce, and Marinated Scallops with Yuzu. Prices are reasonable, and there are no extra service charges; very uncommon in Nakasu. Upstairs, a spacious, low-lit room with sofa seating is perfect for just drinks, or to retire to after a meal downstairs. Japanese will find Nakasu Dining nostalgic, foreigners exotic, all of us will agree it’s a very cool spot.
2-6-3 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 18:00~3:00 (Food OS 2:00)
Closed: Sun., Nat. Holidays
Prices: No charge on 1F, ¥1,000 2F. Draft beer ¥600, cocktails ¥700~, Spring rolls ¥700, Maguro Burger ¥700, Shrimp & Vegetables with Chili & Mayonaise ¥800
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn53, May 2003)