“Where would you like to sit?” asked Vincent, who along with his wife Kristen, opened The Westside in Kita Horie a year ago. At the front of the restaurant, couples and friends sat at tables, and in the back, a large counter hugged the bar.
We chose the counter, and began with beers and a plate of nachos, covered in chopped tomatoes, olives, zingy homemade guacamole, cream cheese and jalapenos. Good sharing food, and our host put forth a convincing case as to why it’s not really junk food.
“None of the food is processed. All the meat for the patties is 100% beef. The onions in the onion rings are fresh, made just now with a beer batter. I mean, it’s not for anyone on a diet, the calories in the cheesecake are probably illegal and at first the portions were too big, and no one would buy a hamburger except to share,” Vincent laughed. “So we had to make it a bit smaller.”
We tried the Westside wings with a blue-cheese sauce that was so good, I became briefly anti-social, eyes closed, savoring the flavor spread over celery. We also started on the house wines: a smooth Californian white, and the red mixed into a delicious sangria. A glass of wine or beer at happy hour will set you back ¥300, and ¥500 at normal prices.
“There’s not enough room for dancing, though we do!” Vincent said, as he told us about their weekly salsa dance lessons. The bar also has a live music night, and acoustic, jazzy acts looking for a venue, will find a welcoming audience here.
The interior is non-smoking, and has a lovely, deep brown, wooden finish to all the tables, and fittings. The bar is wide enough to accommodate multiple plates and drinks, and the seats are comfortable for sliding into at the end of a long day. American informality and friendliness is at the fore, and the kitchen is deliberately open to the bar, so that the chef is not hidden away, but part of the bar conversations.
“We want it to be like a club, not a dance club, or some elite, private club, but a community, a place for people to meet, reminisce, share,” says Vincent.
All the major-league American sports – baseball, NFL and basketball are played over the TV while on Sunday afternoons they play American movies, with a real cinema popcorn maker available.
We tried a silver sangria, made with gin and grape juice, alongside a Philly cheesesteak and side of crispy, onion rings, and honey mustard dipping sauce. Then came a Detroitstyle Coney Dog – a hotdog covered in thin slices of beef, onion and mustard, and garnished with Pringles because… America. Westside does also make a variety of beautiful salads. A lunch set with salad bar for ¥950 is newly available this month.
A real, cheesy, New York cheesecake and coffee rounded out a very satisfying introduction to genuine, NY-style, bar-and-grill food. In fact, in a bid to become even more authentic, wing and steak nights will be starting soon!
So come grab a Philly cheesesteak and a beer, and have a chat. Great food and friends are waiting for you at The Westside.
The Westside American Bistro
• Address: 1-5-13 Kita-horie, Nishi-ku, Osaka-shi
• Tel: 06-7171-7938
• Access: Subway Yotsubashi Line, Yotsubashi Stn, Exit 5
• Web: facebook.com/westside2014americanbistro