Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

The Good Vibes: The pastrami sandwich has a home in Taito Ward

by Robbie Swinnerton

Home-made pastrami. Espresso BBQ Pork. Crispy fried chicken. Three great reasons for making a detour — or even a special trip — to the back streets of Taito Ward.

These are the stars of the show at The Good Vibes, an excellent new sandwich specialist diner that opened in March between Asakusabashi and Akihabara.

The pork oozes rich, spicy sauce and is loaded up with chili pickles and lettuce. The chicken has a crunchy genmai (brown rice) coating and comes with grated cabbage and a slather of teriyaki sauce. They take the silver and bronze positions.

But the undoubted winner is the pastrami: thick, juicy, gleaming slices of beef boasting just the right amount of smoky barbecue flavor, with onion jam and mustard to add extra levels of flavor. Like the others, it is sandwiched inside pillowy-light buns, with chunky potato wedges on the side — or, if you prefer, served over rice.

At dinner time, the atmosphere becomes more muted but the menu expands, turning the cozy, no-frills dining room into a casual wine bar. Among the hits: duck rillettes, avocado fritters, the classic macaroni cheese, and bubbling-hot oven-baked lamb meat balls. Plus, of course, the barbecue specials that are putting The Good Vibes firmly on the map in this increasingly vibrant neighborhood.

Sandwiches from ¥700; dinner a la carte; Japanese/English menu (lunch only); some English spoken. Robbie Swinnerton blogs at tokyofoodfile.com.