Red Lobster may be a ubiquitous franchise in America, but it is a rarity in the Chubu region — there is only one branch in Aichi Prefecture. For those not in the know, or only familiar with the chain thanks to Beyonce’s “Formation,” the chain serves lobster in a number of ways: steamed, oven-baked, plain or topped with sauces.
The Aichi branch is a family-friendly restaurant with child seats and set meals available. It is also located right next to the Nagoya aquarium, and is a good stop on a day out with the family.
Red Lobster’s Japan menu offers steak, curries, crispy pizza and giant desserts. There is a range of drinks to choose from, but the real show-stopper is the beer tower, a large plastic vat with a small tap at the bottom, so you can pour your own beers.
And then there is the lobster. These are of the Maine variety flown in live from New Zealand, with larger claws than local Japanese species. The best option for trying one is to order a set meal that includes a salad, soup or chowder, and a seafood paella, in addition to your chosen lobster. First you decide how you want your crustacean prepared and its size. One of the wait staff will then bring out your live meal with its pincers banded shut. The purpose of this is to show you how fresh the lobster is, but the spectacle is a little gruesome. The taste, however, is well worth the ordeal, for us humans at least.
1-7 Minatomachi, Minato, Nagoya; 055-232-2900; nearest station, Nagoyako; open Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. (L.O.)., closed Mon; English menu. For more details, visit www.redlobster.jp.
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