Nick Stock: The steaks are high but the muzak is terrible

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

There is elevator muzak and shopping channel muzak, but combine these two subgenres and you’ll have a type of muzak so bland that even a computer would be embarrassed to claim ownership of it. Yet there’s no avoiding this banal background music at Nick Stock, a steakhouse and cafe just west of Kyoto Research Park that opened at the beginning of the year.

Like its background sounds, Nick Stock is cheesy. First, there’s the name, then the slogan — “Stand by beef” — which is emblazoned on the napkins. But despite all this, the restaurant has found its feet, most likely because those feet are meaty and relatively cheap.

Steaks and hot dogs are the main draw, and the “service lunch” — a 200-gram steak with the option of a big wiener on the side, combined with soup, salad, grilled eggplant, spinach, fries and bread or rice for ¥1,200 — is about the most reasonably priced meat lunch you’ll find in Kyoto. One thing Nick needs to tone down, however, is the salt, especially on the crinkly fries.

Nick isn’t just about meat, it also offers pancakes, pasta and omelettes as well. But when I visited, diners were there for only one reason: the steak lunch. Get there early as it sells out quickly — and bring headphones.