Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2008
If you want to make enemies with vegetarians, take them to Tokyo Rotisserie Chicken DC. After walking through the door, they’ll be greeted by the sight of splayed chickens roasting in a glass-covered oven, and a savory aroma that’s sure to offend them—or, just maybe, convince them to change their ways.
Make no mistake: this restaurant is an omnivore’s delight. Pork platters, meat stews and buffalo wings all appear on the menu, and potato skins come slathered with cheese and bacon. DC does offer a few salads, but they seem like an afterthought.
The specialty of the house is chicken that’s cooked on a spit and then stewed in a Dutch oven (tip: call ahead and the staff will get yours started before you arrive). The result is, in a word, fantastic. Served with a medley of vegetables and wading in its own juices, the dish has a flavor and tenderness that less-intensive cooking methods can’t match.
The menu claims, somewhat optimistically, that a whole chicken is suitable for three or four people, but big eaters will want to split theirs with a friend. Or keep it all for themselves. Customers can choose between Japanese and Brazilian birds (kind of like at the hostess bars just up the road in Ginza), with the domestic chicken, unsurprisingly, costing more than the import (¥3,750 to ¥2,960). Half-size portions are available for ¥1,880 and ¥1,480.
For some diners, the sight of chickens going round and round in the rotisserie oven is entertainment enough. For others, a magician wanders around the restaurant and performs tableside. During our visit, the performer gamely tried out his act in English, wowing us with card and coin tricks while keeping up a good-natured, though surprisingly in-your-face, banter.
DC’s interior struck us as halfway between a restaurant and an izakaya, with a black-and-white color scheme for the walls and tabletops. Combined with the cube-like layout, the space made us feel like we were in the middle of a monochromic Rubik’s cube. Surrounding the rotisserie grill in the center of the room are shelves with bottles of Japanese liquor, Western-style paintings in gilt frames, balloons in the shape of rabbits(!), and a big-screen TV blaring moldy oldies from Queen and the Village People.
Thanks to its location just steps from Kanda station, DC attracts an after-work crowd. At a neighboring table sat three salarymen sharing chicken and a bottle of wine, and a steady stream of like-minded customers arrived as the night wore on. Though one or two couples were in attendance, DC is not really a date spot. Instead, it’s a comfortable and cozy eatery with excellent food and attentive staff.
And no vegetarians.