Tokyo, Japan is exploding with quirky themed restaurants. Understatement. You can watch a sexy robot show while eating a bento box or be served by trained ninjas or dine in a European church replica. And though all of those sounded equally as bizarre, I opted for the Alcatraz ER, a medical prison themed restaurant.
Who doesn’t want to eat beef shaped like a brain on the floor of a jail cell while sipping cocktails out of a dummy’s head?
That’s what Tokyo’s Alcatraz ER has to offer…and so much more.
Beware, this themed restaurant is tricky to find, but so is just about everything else in Tokyo.
From Shibuya station we took the Hachiko exit #8 and walked across the famous Shibuya Crossing, well-known for its feature in the movie Lost in Translation. You will be heading in the right direction when you pass blg 109 on your right. Go past the KFC and take a right at the 7-11. It is on the right hand side about a block away.
Sounds easy. But, just know that Tokyo is confusing. It took me three tries, 4 websites, 2 maps and a tourist information booth to figure it out.
We walked in on a Sunday night at 8:00 without reservations and were told it would be ten minutes. At the time the “show” was on and we couldn’t be seated during it. I had (& still have) no idea what the show was, but if you get there before eight let me know. We waited in a purposely grungy lobby where the bathrooms were located. It all set the tone for the odd experience we were about to have.
In order to open the doors to restaurant you must punch the big red button with your blood type; A, B, AB, O. Then you will walk through a corridor to the jail cells. Each cell is a private dining room.
Peter and I were led up a short set of stairs to our cell, with a ceiling low enough to have to have to stoop. We were directed to our “cell”, where the only seats were cushions on the floor. After, we were given a picture menu and instructed to bang on the metal bars for service, which many of the patrons were already doing.
The nurse uniformed servers were nice enough to give us an English menu which feature such items as beer in a urine bottle and sausage in the shape of a bowel movement. Yum.
Peter was pretty disenchanted by the ridiculous predicament I had put him in once again. What? This isn’t fun? So he resigned to allow me to choose our dinner for the evening.
One Brain Shock cocktail, Peach Boobs, a beef salad made to look like a brain, Russian roulette Takoyaki & Blue Curry. A well-rounded, gross enough meal.
Our Alcatraz ER drinks came and Pete refused to let me take a photo of him drinking out of the baby bottle. Absolutely, vehemently refused. No fun. “You’re just going to post it to Facebook.” Uh, Duh. Of Course I am.
But, he did bang on the bars and drink out of the fake head. He is forgiven.
The Brain Shock cocktail, which tasted like a very strong margarita, was served in an old beauty school mannequin head with haircut number 227.
Do everyone a favor and NEVER opt for the number 227 cut. It is pure awfulness.
There was something a bit disturbing about drinking the Peach Boobs, which was served in a baby bottle. I am well aware that some adults would find pure pleasure in it. I’m just not one of them. It was mostly because of sanitary reasons; how well could they possibly clean those nipples?
But, a tiny part was because of disturbing fetish thoughts, involving adult diapers, that invaded my mind.
The Seared Beef Salad came to the table loosely in the shape of a brain. It didn’t really take it’s meant form until it was cut open and the stringy, edible stuff came flowing out.
For the record, it didn’t taste anything like brain. My stomach thanks you for that.
Next on the Alcatraz ER dinner menu was the Russian Roulette Takoyaki. You just don’t know what you are going to get, but hope it’s not a bullet in the head.
What was certain was that it was going to be a Japanese ball-shaped appetizer, topped with dried bonito (fish) shavings. This particular takoyaki was filled with some sort of minced fish that was…fishy. Not my favorite.
The last thing to arrive to the cells table was the bright blue curry in a urine tin.
The taste is not horrible. It’s just wrong.
As with many dinner theater or themed restaurants the food was not five-star (probably, not even four of the aforementioned stars), but I will always make that sacrifice for a bucket list worthy experience.
Want a different themed restaurant experience? Try Kawaii Monster Cafe or Locked Up.
More Tokyo Articles
Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do in Japan’s Coolest City
4 of the Best Day Trips from Tokyo
Japanese Culture & Tradition Facts: 11 Etiquette Tips Before You Go
Tokyo Food: 13 Themed (& Slightly Weird) Cafe & Restaurant Experiences
Watch Wrestling Practice at a Sumo Stable in Japan
Captivating Chaos: Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant Show
Visit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market
Shinjuku Nightlife: A Guide to Tokyo’s Best Golden Gai Bars
Best Quirky Café in Japan? Tokyo’s Calico Cat Café in Shinjuku
Discover more Unique Food Experiences…