Two days ago, Maki and I made plans to meet; after much research and thought, we finally decided on THE GRAVY…Maki had found a picture of THE GRAVY’s steak on fries (something like we’ve both had at Le Bouchon before) and we both went with the intention of having it. I had been wanting to go there since I saw it in a magazine on new cafés for the year 2012 and saw that they served many hearty dishes concentrated on meat. My first attempt when I went on a Wednesday in late November last year met in failure because I forgot that it was closed on Wednesdays and I hadn’t been able to go back, until now.
Our original plan was to meet at 小川通Ogawa Street off of 今出川通Imadegawa Street. I arrived earlier and being hot from my walk from 今出川駅Imadegawa Station and not wanting to wait at the Family Mart, I decided to walk on ahead and see if I could find it (of course I informed Maki of my last-minute decision). I found it without any problem on 一条通Ichijo Street. That’s right, I’d forgotten that THE GRAVY is a dog café that even sells supplies and treats for dogs…the owners, a couple, wanted to create a casual space where people and dogs could spend time together, which meant their dog was welcome as well.
When I entered, there were no customers. I decided to sit at a two-seater table closest to the door so that I could have some breeze (they hadn’t turned on the air conditioner yet).
The owners have a thing for bulldogs which explains all the bulldog paraphernalia. Their current dog, Bacchus, is the café mascot; when he’s not out and about calmly welcoming the customers, he retires into his little room at the front. When the owner’s previous bulldog, Anthony, passed away last year in June, Bacchus was adopted about half a year later when he was in danger of being put to sleep after being neglected by his previous owner who caged him and barely gave him food to eat. Knowing this now and looking back, I can associate his shy and calm behavior with his past experience. However, he wasn’t unfriendly at all and sniffed at us when we first arrived. I’m going to give him more love next time I go.
a casual atmosphere, great for relaxing and enjoying some good food
When Maki finally arrived (she got a little lost), we checked out the menu. The steak was not available for lunch to our dismay, so we decided to get the ハンバーガーセットhanbaagaa setto (hamburger set), ￥850, which comes with salad and soup, instead. To add a drink it cost an extra ￥150; I ordered アイスティーiced tea which was アールグレイEarl Grey that day and Maki ordered a Coke. We also added cheese to our hamburger which cost another ￥100. The grand total for our meal there was ￥1100 each.
Update: Almost a year and a half later, I finally went back to THE GRAVY for the steak…when I arrived, there was one party of two and a baby by the front window and a hitori-sama at a two-seater in the middle against the wall; I chose the two-seater in the back against the wall.
Besides the regular steak there was also a 和牛Japanese-beef version for ￥300 more at ￥1500 (before tax); since the Japanese-beef one might not be available the next time I came, I ordered it with アイスアールグレイティーiced Earl Grey tea, ￥380 (￥100 off with any dish that isn’t à la carte or dessert, before tax).
I was surprised my steak came sliced up but to me it was very considerate of the owner. My steak was flavored perfectly with salt and pepper; I didn’t use the light, tangy sauce I was provided until the last three pieces but that made the steak delicious in a different way. There was quite a consistency in the texture of the meat but that’s how I like meat, so although it took a while to get through my meal, I enjoyed every bit of it. The fries were perfectly fried and seasoned with salt and pepper and the vinaigrette dressing of my salad was a nice break between the fries and meat.
Before my order arrived, the other customers left. Bacchus was sleeping by the two-seater next to me but pretty soon the smell of my steak woke him up.
Bacchus’ sleepy back…it was hilarious how he was kind of out of it upon awaking.
The owner’s wife took Bacchus for a walk and when he came back, he was ready to eat! He was a lot more energetic than I remembered him (maybe because it was summer when I first came) and he got even more excited when an older couple came who seemed to be the parents of the owner.
When I was paying, the owner’s wife asked me for the address of my blog so that they could check out my post on THE GRAVY (I had told them earlier about it when we were chatting a bit)…I hope they’re happy with my presentation of the café.