A conversation today popped up concerning a popular food chain in Japan known as Pepper Lunch. I told them in the US I had never seen a Pepper Lunch chain in my area, but then again, I was not searching for it. The people I was talking to told me there are chains in different countries, to my surprise because I thought Pepper Lunch was only in Japan. Afterwards I decided to have Pepper Lunch for, well, lunch and share how delicious this place can be. Heading towards the closest Pepper Lunch, there was a group of Japanese salarymen waiting for seat. The wait was not too long, but it did not stop my mouth from watering as the smell of food cooking filled the air.
Now deciding what to order can be a bit difficult. Depending on your tastes, it can determine the experience you will have at Pepper Lunch. I’m not too fond of the pepper taste so I decided to go with the “Wild Beef Steak with Rice.” The funny thing is the Japanese on the menu says “ワイルドジューシーカットステーキ,” which translates to “wild juicy cut steak.” The amount of pepper used for this dish is just right for me. While waiting for the food I ordered a melon soda and read the large paper mat.
The purpose of the mat, other than providing information, is to use it to block the sizzling juices from getting on your clothes. Fair warning there are sauces you can put on the meat, but do not pour it when the food first arrives. Wait for the food to cook and the sizzling plate to cool down. Otherwise you will end up with juices and sauces going all over the place. The Pepper Lunch I went to had three sauces to choose from. The one on the left was the tangy sweet sauce, the middle was the spicy sauce, and the right was Tabasco sauce. With my affinity to being weak against spicy flavors I decided to go with the tangy sweet sauce once my food was ready to be eaten.
Soon enough the staff brought the delicious sizzling food in front of me and placed the plate at the top of the mat. They held up the bottom half to protect my clothing and transitioned it to my hand. Afterwards they handed me a pair of tongs to begin cooking. The garlic butter on top began to melt and I spread it across all the pieces to get a nice flavor going. When I no longer saw the splashes of juices I let the mat go and devoted my full attention to cooking. Once it was ready to eat I devoured my food and forgot to take a photo of the aftermath. So, if you are ever in Japan and you want to try something other than ramen and sushi then head to Pepper Lunch for a mini teppanyaki experience.