A secret dining ‘cove’ discovered

grilled fish


WE stumbled upon this Japanese restaurant out of curiosity one evening, a place where time seems to stand still and you can detach yourself from the world when you enter it.

Located on the ground floor of J&P Building along Beach Road in Garapan and just one block away from our office, we had no idea that a secret cove perfect for a leisurely lunch or dinner is just a stone’s throw away.

From the outside, there is no indication that it is a restaurant, except for a small sign with the word LEN and some Japanese characters which would not make sense to anyone who does not understand or read Japanese. There are no signs along the road and it is not listed in the phone directory, either.

fried chicken wings

A black wooden  wall with barbed wires on top covers the whole façade but entering the small door leads into a small pathway with water trickling down on one whole side of a cement wall.

Len Restaurant looks and feels more like a spa than a restaurant, but when we came in one  Saturday evening, pleasant smells greeted us and teased our taste buds. The restaurant has no main hall, but the small hallway branched out into several smaller alcoves, a perfect rendezvous for dining with all the privacy you can ask for.

We went into one of the rooms near the main door and I wasted no time in ordering the fried chicken wings with original spicy sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds from the menu that a bubbly food staffer named Marichu handed to us.

My buddies ordered grilled saba fish for $7, and potato salad with apple dressing.  Marichu served us glasses of cold water as we waited for our order, which came very soon.

My fried chicken wings were not spicy as I expected, but rather had a sweetish tang to it. I dug into my buddy’s grilled saba fish when it arrived. It was perfect, but I only tried half a spoonful of the potato salad.  It has a curry flavor and more on the spicy side.

Customers drifted in and out of the door throughout our dinner, a merry mix of Japanese, locals and other nationalities.

For dinner, you can order from a wide selection of dishes including barbeque from $3.50 to $6, Japanese dishes, fried foods, sashimi, sushi, and more.

You can also try their grilled fish, sirloin steak with wasabi, cold tomato with Japanese dressing, cream cheese with salted fish guts, sasami tataki which is flesh chicken meat sashimi with wasabi sauce, tuna sashimi, fresh cabbage and cucumber with original dip sauce, cold tofu from Japan, pork barbeque, Tako wasabi or salted octopus with Wasabe,

The food staff said  they have a different menu for lunch, but all dishes are at very pocket-friendly prices. Majority of the dishes are below the $10 mark.

Bottles of Shochu adorned one wall near the counter, with name tags hanging from the bottles. The food staff explained in answer to my yet-unvoiced query that customers can buy a whole bottle of Shochu, take small sips and leave it at the restaurant. They can go back later to have another drink.

Len Restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Major credit cards are accepted. For reservations or inquiries, call 233-9489. This article was first published HERE.

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