One of our favorite funky eateries has just sprouted a new offshoot, and it’s every bit as laid-back delicious. Junkadelic, the self-styled “comfortable Mexican” hangout in Naka-Meguro, already has a branch in Akasaka. This new one, which opened in nether Shibuya in late October, is smaller, more intimate and even more casual, if such a thing is possible.
It has its own distinct personality to match its unforgettable name, Junkadelic Jalopy! Not so much a restaurant as a tie-died taqueria/bar, the inspiration here is San Diego rather than anywhere south of the border. This is reflected in the faded ocean-blue paint and a menu that extends rather further than typical Cal-Mex. Alongside the tacos, quesadillas and burritos, you will find ceviche, camarones al ajo (garlicky shrimps cooked in hot oil) and even seafood tacos, made with crunchy deep-fried white-meat fish.
The guacamole is made fresh, pounded from whole avocados after you place your order. The time it takes to arrive is well worth the extra bonus flavor. It also comes with a homemade jalapeno sauce made from local peppers. Not as fiery as you’d expect in Southern California, perhaps, but the taste is incomparable.
Surprisingly, Jalopy! is open from 8 a.m. every weekday, though we haven’t been yet to try the breakfast bacon-and-egg tacos. But we have dropped by a number of times in the evening. We love the hip, artsy feel and look — handmade wooden fittings, eclectic decor and nonmatching furniture — and the friendly welcome. We also like that you don’t get a wedge of lime in your bottle of Carlsberg (no Sol or Corona here). As always, the folks from Junkadelic are doing it in their own inimitable way.
Junkadelic Jalopy!, 2-14-5 Shoto, Shibuya-ku; (03) 6804-9533; nearest station: Shinsen (Inokashira Line). Bilingual menu; a little English spoken; open Mon.-Fri. 8-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 5 p.m.-midnight (Fri. till 2 a.m.); Sat. 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 4-10 p.m.