“So why do we keep doing all of this devil-themed stuff?”
“It’s just advertising. The Devil is an iconic figure associated with temptation and pleasures. Seven Deadly Sins, right? Good food, good drink, good (and perhaps naughty) times. Using the Adversary’s icons are just a shorthand for all of that.”
“What about angels?”
“Their iconography is a little different. They’re associated with comfort, stability, and being good boys and girls. You know, like those figurines my grandma keeps in her curio shelf. Not exactly themes that sell beer and pizza.”
“There’s plenty of nice things that use angels in advertising! Like…” her brow furrowed. “Toilet paper! And that sponge cake!”
My mouth activated before my common sense did. “The Victoria’s Secret Angels!”
Mrs. Winston’s eyes narrowed. Date Night was not off to a good start. Also, cross Lust off of the Seven Deadly Sins list for that evening.
Like all forms of damnation, DevilCraft Hamamatsucho is easy to find. Just use the Yamanote line to get to Hamamatsucho station and go out of the South Exit, and then the Kanasugibashi Exit. Directly after exiting, turn left and follow the train tracks all the way to the end of the street. When you run into the My Basket grocery store, turn right. It’s only a few meters away.
DevilCraft is in the “Rise Well” building, and the restaurant-pub is underneath the building’s huge logo. They have their own pitchfork-in-a-red-circle near the door, but you’ll already know where you are. You’ll see the crowd. Fortunately, we had called ahead to make reservations, otherwise we would had nothing but Envy for the people already inside. Both Japanese and English is spoken at DevilCraft, so we had no problem communicating over the phone or for the duration of our visit.
Immediately inside are a handful of tables and a bar in front of a glorious wall of beer taps. The day we went, DevilCraft had 21 different drafts available, and we aren’t talking about the same beers that are on tap everywhere else. We’re talking about drafts such as my first selection, Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale. An American pale ale from Seattle, Superfuzz had just the right amount of orangey-taste, not too fruity. The missus had a pint of the Hitachino Nest White Ale, a Belgian White brewed in Ibaragi. Japan. Nice and light, a perfect beer for a hot day.
While drinking, we perused the food menu. DevilCraft specializes in Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas. These aren’t the flat, circular pies you get through delivery–deep-dish pizza means layers of pizza goodness stacked one atop the other, like a cake made of meat and cheese and tomato sauce and maybe some of that stuff that vegetarians eat. I was already feeling the stirrings of Greed.
I had already seen a few of the other patrons eating. The couples had small (I wouldn’t say “personal-sized”) pizzas, and groups had the larger sizes. They had the Big Cheese, Abe Fromans, and the Veggie Works. But I knew what I wanted.
“A Large Meatzza, please!” Of course! Pepperoni and salami! House sausage! Extra cheese!
“This can’t possibly be healthy.”
“So? This isn’t a health food place. Besides, clogged arteries kill you at the end of your life, when you’re ready to go anyway. I refuse to die with a mouthful of bean sprouts.”
After polishing off our starter beers, we started looking around for recommendations on the second. One of the owners, Paul, just happened to be nearby, so I asked him. “With a Meatzza? An IPA,” he replied. “An Indian Pale Ale is a good match for the saltiness of the meat.” Keeping with the theme, I went with the house-designed Evil Twin, while the missus (not being fond of IPAs) went with a Blonde Ale from the Diamond Knot Brewery in Mukilteo, Washington.
We chit-chatted with Paul for a little bit. DevilCraft’s Hamamatsucho location is actually their second restaurant (Kanda being the first), and that very day they were celebrating Hamamatsucho’s second anniversary (the Kanda location has recently celebrated its fourth year). Not a bad run for three guys who aren’t even from Chicago.
Paul drifted away to check on the kitchen and talk to the other customers. At the same time, our Meatzza arrived not in a cloud of brimstone, but rather in a blast of steam and drool-inducing meaty aroma. It was immediately evident that I wasn’t going to be able to pick this pizza up by the slice and eat it. Oh no, this sort of pizza was made for the (conveniently available) knife and fork.
One cut, one fork-lift, and one bite later, and I was hooked. Paul was right on the money with the IPA recommendation–it matched perfectly to the meaty, gooey-cheesy goodness that satisfies the carnivorous pizza-fan’s cravings. It was so good, I started searching the walls for the fiddle of gold (or at least a pie-pan of gold) that DevilCraft’s founders must have won from Old Scratch’s Pizzeria.
And the crust? Oh, man. You know how sometimes, when you order a pizza, and everybody eats slices, and then crusts are left behind? Pizza places have tried to solve this for years by rolling cheese into the crust, or providing dipping sauces, etc. DevilCraft solved the problem in a straightforward fashion–they made the crust so damn good that you won’t let it go to waste. You will eat it. You will take someone else’s if they don’t guard it carefully. I guarantee it.
Halfway through this eating experience, we ran out of beer again. So we had another one, because I am a conscientious reviewer. I had the A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Wheat IPA out of the Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, CA; my wife shifted down to the half-pints and selected the Ursus Americanus from Poulsbo, Washington. Honestly, the lengths we go to for accuracy and completeness.
What? Were they good? Well, what do you think?
And soon, the Meatzza was all gone. But in its place, I felt the warm glow of that most divine of post-meal sensations–Meaty Satisfaction.
“Hold on,” I leaned against the wall, panting. My belly was already distended, and the walk back to the train station wasn’t helping. “I think I hurt myself.”
“Of course you did,” my wife replies. She leaned against the wall next to me. She was trying to look stern, but I could tell that it was taking all of her willpower to keep her hands away from her stomach. “You had three beers and four slices of your own, and then you finished off one of my slices!”
“Oh, so now it’s on me? It is not my fault that you can’t hold up your own end of a meal.”
After a few minutes of groaning and cursing our own Gluttony, we resumed our penguin waddle back to Hamamatsucho station. Hopefully, we wouldn’t drop off into a Slothful pizza coma on the train and end up doing circles on the Yamanote all night.
Whether you miss it from back home or want to show your Japanese friends what great deep-dish pizza is like, you can’t go wrong with a DevilCraft pie and a craft beer. But be warned! You may want to bring your big boy pants to this meal, because you’re going to want to let a little out after a pizza this good. DevilCraft can take Pride in being on my “must go back to” list. Call ahead and make a reservation–if you take my seat, you’re going to get a bit of my Wrath (I did it! I got all Seven of them in one article!).
DevilCraft website (English) – http://en.devilcraft.jp . Directions to the Hamamatsucho and Kanda locations are in the sidebar. Operating hours, lunch and dinner times vary by location. Also has the current beer listing!
DevilCraft on Facebook
Derek Winston is retired from the US Navy and currently attends college in Tokyo. If you see him on the street, approach with caution; there’s no telling what you will end up talking about. It might be safer to limit your exposure by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Might be.