March 5, 2009
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2009
El Coyote takes Wild West authenticity to painstaking lengths: the walls are covered with weathered planks and rusted farm implements from an actual American barn, and the air is scented by three honest-to-goodness oil lamps. With its mismatched, antique wooden tables and chairs, and a massive bar made from a single piece of Canadian pine, this pub marks a refreshing change from your run-of-the-mill watering hole.
In keeping with the US theme, Budweiser (draft ¥700), Miller (bottle ¥650) and Coors (bottle ¥600) feature prominently on the drink menu. If you’ve ever tasted these stalwarts of American beer, though, you’ll probably make like us and order a Corona (bottle ¥700) or Kirin (draft ¥700) instead.
El Coyote’s original cocktails, meanwhile, offer interesting alternatives for the more creatively inclined. Nobody ever accused us of being adventurous when it comes to drinks, but we managed to try a few anyway. Tammachi Street (¥850), made with green tea liquor and grapefruit juice, was tasty enough, though a little sweet alongside the food we’d ordered. Japan Blue (¥750)—a blend of grapefruit juice, blue curacao and vodka—also got the nod, but in the end most of us went back to the suds. You can lead a grizzled beer drinker to El Coyote, but you can’t make him drink a cocktail.
While El Coyote’s decor is Old West, the food is an eclectic mix of original takes on Tex-Mex, American and Japanese standards. The popular vote for best dish of our visit went to the “original nachos” (¥1,000). Although the mayonnaise and lettuce topping almost threw us off, the nachos were as good as any we’d ever had, complete with lavish dollops of cheese, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. One order wasn’t enough.
The chicken basket (¥950)—boneless fried chicken, perfectly prepared and served piping hot—also went down well, as did the thick wedge fries (¥700), corned beef rice (¥950) and taco rice (¥950). It’s not exactly fine dining, but it certainly makes for good pub fare.
Being five minutes on foot from Tammachi station on the Tokyu-Toyoko line, and about 15 from Yokohama station, El Coyote isn’t at the center of the action, but it’s worth seeking out—and the staff will refund up to ¥1,000 cash for taxi fares with a receipt, just to make up for your efforts. It’s a fine choice if you’re looking for a unique atmosphere, great for large or small groups, and you won’t be kicked out after two hours. With the lights down low, blues on the stereo, and oil lamps sweetening the air, this is one cowboy-friendly haunt that doesn’t disappoint.