Oko Cafe: Sumo Meets Anime

okoOko Cafe seems to mostly emphasize the drink options, which cover teas, milk teas, smoothies, slushies, bubble teas, mojito teas, ice milks, over their food, which tends to be snacky versions of Udon, Tempura, Hamburgers, fried potato variations, chicken wings, Okonomiyaki/savory pancakes, Ra-men.

The inside theme is based on Sumo- (soo moh) wrestlers who are usually king size in terms of their muscles & girth.  All their food titles include Sumo- to imply that the amount of food is large as well as their taste being big in flavour.

The interior is a “funky” mixture of whimsical cut outs of Sumo- wrestlers where you can pose behind them since there is a cutout for your head to be placed for photo opps.  The farther walls are lined with various boxes of supplies strewn here and there. Another wall has papers plastered on it with performance times and names for the Sumo Challenge. There is definitely a kicked-back feeling, although the combination of the loud mixers and music can get pretty noisy.

The counter is usually manned by cute little Japanese anime waitress types wearing daisy dukes. So if you like to see some “tail” while ordering a Ra-men Bun, a Smoothie, or Milk tea to up your appetite & get the salivary glands going, the viewing is included in the purchase.  Not that that would interest me, but I’m just sayin’ for those who want to be in the know.

Oko Cafe is a rather idiosyncratic eating establishment.  I went one night on a Monday having a craving for some Yaki Soba, which is Ra-men noodles sauteed with cabbage, onions, meat like pork belly with Japanese style sweet, fruity, spice/herbed worchester sauce, sprinkled with Ao Nori/dried green seaweed powder, Beni Sho-ga/pickled crimson ginger (and maybe mayonnaise sprinkled on top).

When I went up to the counter, the anime waitress showing buns told me that they didn’t serve any food on Mondays.  With all the signs they have hanging up on the walls and windows, I didn’t see any sign saying ‘no food Mondays’.

Later I went on a Wednesday hoping to cop my long awaited Yaki Soba, but NO LUCK. They told me that they were changing to a new menu in about a week and so they only had hamburgers.  She explained all this in her honest-to-goodness squeaky female anime voice.

I couldn’t get mad since I didn’t want her to get pissed off and perform a Kamehameha on me.  (Google the Dragon Ball anime, not the King from ancient Hawai’i.) So I ordered the To-kyo- Burger to take out.  It was a little too noisy in there at the time, but the rest of the customers just ate it all up.

The Sumoo To-kyo- Burger is a “cheese burger topped with pork belly, fried egg, lettuce, tomato Sumoo Sauce”.  The ground meat was cooked medium well, and I would have preferred it cooked medium so the meat doesn’t dry out. The pork Belly is cooked to the point of being like a well cooked bacon strip.  Lettuce was a bit of romaine.  The Sumoo Sauce comes in 9 variations, but I chose the original, which Miss Dukes said was made from garlic.

The To-kyo Burger came out piping hot. The buns were not toasted, but were soft with a bit of dry, rough texture for contrast.  The hot meat contrasted with the cool crispness of the romaine & the gooshiness of the tomato added a bit of an acid gastrique.  The garlic in the Original Sumoo sauce was mild, but did add to the savory gestalt.  Although Oko Cafe doesn’t serve beer, a nice light IPA would have worked great with the beefiness.

Next time I go to Oko Cafe, I expect to be chomping down on my long anticipated Yaki Soba.  Until then, my grade stands at a B-. And I do expect to have a waiter with a big bushy moustache who looks like either Mario or Luigi. If not, there will be one less point due to these series of “disappointments”. Great place to hang out if your buns still haven’t lost their anti-gravity effect yet and drooped & sagged out of your Daisy Dukes.

Gary Idama

About Gary Idama

A gourmet since the mid 1970s, Gary Idama has an extensive knowledge of a variety of cuisines, but is partial to Japanese food. When Gary reviews restaurants, he looks for good food and drink, good bang for the bucks, a clean eatery and kitchen, plus knowledgeable and enthusiastic service. He is a member of Yelp's Elite and spends his time at restaurant and cultural events, hanging out with friends, and attending Sake/Wine tastings. His last meal on earth would be Omakase with premium Sake at Mako Sushi in Little Tokyo and maybe a little salted, preserved Fugu ovary with a Napa Pinot Noir.
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