Sapporo Beer Garden serves an all you can eat style meal. Notice the italics. This is not the American style all you can eat buffet. There are no lines and no surly waiters who will take forever to get you new drinks. This is like a restaurant on methamphetamine. Is your drink running low? A quick nod to a waiter or a mere mention of it will send someone sprinting to your table. The turn around on getting a new beer or new platter of food is easier counted in seconds than minutes.
You arrive thinking you will conquer this style of all you can eat and all you can drink buffet. Sapporo Beer Garden owns you. There are no conquerors here, only survivors. This is my tale of survival.
veni, vidi, superavi
The Mecca of Meat and Beer
Sapporo Beer Garden serves only a few things, but what they serve is in epic proportions. You order you meal in terms of minutes. We ordered for an hour and a half. We figured that we are American, love to eat, and have been traveling all day - so we would have enormous appetites. We still got owned.
All Dignity is Gone After This Point
They do not attempt to fill you with rice or other cheap fillers. It is only mutton, pure and simple (called Jingis Khan, sure you can figure out the reference). You can order it raw or frozen. You then cook it on your table. You have a choice of a few beers. They make sure your glass is never even close to dry. This is what your hour and a half look like:
Other Crap Added for Color
Picture that being refreshed about every five minutes for an hour and a half. It is insane. You feel your arteries clogging. You know somewhere there is a sheep that died just for your table. You eat meat so voraciously that Conan the Barbarian would tell you to slow down a little, and perhaps think about ordering a side salad. You trudge on. It is no longer a meal, it is a journey, a quest.
Neither Glass Ever Came Close to Empty
With a food service culture that prides itself on making sure the customer is taken care of, your glasses never go dry. One more beer? Sure, why not. It appears almost as soon as you utter the first syllable of your request.
You leave feeling both proud and ashamed. You know you were the sole cause of a small flock of sheep dying, but at the same time, you have a new-found appreciation for all things meat and beer.
Sapporo is an amazingly beautiful city and we were able to stay with a great host who helped us find a lot to do during their "non-tourist" season (summer). One of my goals in life will be to visit Sapporo during the winter snow festival season, see the ice sculptures, and once again do epic battle with the Sapporo Beer Garden.