Every now and again, we have to stop and remind ourselves that Starbucks’ full name is Starbucks Coffee Company, since it’s not always a craving for a cup of coffee that brings us through their doors. Especially in Japan, we’re as likely to be ordering a roasted sweet potato Frappuccino or sakura donut when we stop by the nominal coffeehouse chain.
On our last visit, we mixed things up even more by skipping both coffee and sweets and instead ordering a special Starbucks Japan menu item that’s only offered at seven locations in Tokyo: beef lasagna.
We got ours at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood, and as you might expect from its rarity, the beef lasagna isn’t exactly cheap, costing 1,012 yen. Thankfully, the portion is sized as a meal, not as a snack, and 1,000 yen or so isn’t a bad price for a cafe lunch in Japan, provided the quality is there. The Starbucks lasagna also comes with three pieces of focaccia, and as we know from our trip to their other Reserve Roastery in Naka-Meguro, they know a thing or two about baking great bread.
At the Ginza branch, the lasagna can be ordered on the second floor, and we decided to ask the staff for a recommended drink pairing as well. To our surprise, they suggested not coffee, but Japanese tea, specifically kabuse genmaicha, a kind of roasted brown rice green tea, so we added a pot for 770 yen.
We took our first bite of the piping hot lasagna, and immediately any of our concerns about the price melted like the rich, creamy mozzarella cheese. The oven-baked pasta dish’s bolognaise and bechamel white sauce combined to make everything extremely flavorful, but without any unpleasant oiliness. It’s not just delicious by coffeehouse food standards, either. We’d be extremely satisfied with lasagna this good in dedicated pasta restaurants.
Turning our attention to our green tea, we were pleasantly surprised at how well the Western and Japanese flavors of our meal complemented each other. There’s a touch of saltiness that lingers at the end of the lasagna’s flavor profile, but the genmaicha was a perfect palate cleanser, with each sip’s clean finish having us ready for another bite of lasagna…or focaccia, as the bread was excellent too.
▼ The staff even gave us a doggy bag so we could take our leftover bread home with us.
In addition to the Ginza Roastery, Starbucks Japan’s beef lasagna is also available at its Reserve Roastery in the Nakameguro neighborhood, and also the Ikejiri 2-chome, Komazawa 1-chome, Daizawa 1-chome, Okusawa 2-chome, and Daikanyama T-Site Starbucks Coffee branches.
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About time they put a decent food choice on the menu.
But is it actually real lasagne?
And not some mayonnaised up concoction?
1,900 yen...for a warmed-up precooked slab of lightly flavoured fat-in-carbs...plus a weak tea? Hard pass.
No food at Starbucks has ever been "great". Ever. I'm calling that out right now.
"Disappointing?" Often. "Decent?" Meh. "Great?" LOL.
Looks great. I hope they expand their availability to other branches. I've had Buck sandwiches a couple of times recently, and they've really improved.
Food at the Reserve Roastery is excellent, far better than regular 'Bucks. No doubt in my mind this is better than most Italian restaurants in this country.
Agreed, Starbucks food is pretty underwhelming. It's not awful, but it is very overpriced for the quality/quantity you get.
So is their coffee honestly. People mostly pay for the consistency and familiarity. The actual cafe interiors are usually reasonably nice and clean as well.
@Addfwyn I pay for a cafe where other (Japanese) customers have paid so much for their coffee or are so into gram photo taking that they don't care about me. I don't live near a major city, so sometimes I want my coffee without a side of being stared at.
Looks like burnt cheese.
Staten Island Italians would turn in their graves if you showed them that burnt slab of cheese and attempted to call it lasagna.
Hope that they are taking the cheese from all the other sandwiches that they sell.
At a recent visit, every variety of sandwich on sale contained cheese; not good for people who don't like the stuff.
I go to Starbucks for the fantastic wifi.
Haven't been to Starbucks in ages. Really didn't like that the sandwiches came straight from the fridge and the bread was cold.
@Marie Where do you live that people stare at you? I live in a fairly rural area and no one stares except maybe 5 year old kids in the onsen!
Vegan lasagne at Tully's.
Not "these" days but they expect foreign tourists will come back.