The first time I tried to find Tanuki, open only two months, there was no visible address or sign, just a door on Calle Argentina opening into what appeared to be a small restaurant with blonde wood decor.
No friends inside either. The people I was to meet had suggested Tanuki, saying they’d read it was the only place in Guadalajara that serves okonomiyaki, which they got to like while living in Japan. But where were they?
They were sitting in another Japanese restaurant across the street — the locale is apparently a “little Japan” — until they figured out they were in the wrong place.
Soon after we finally settled in at 7:15 p.m. — only about an hour after Tanuki’s opening — the ten tables and ten-seat sushi bar (which doesn’t serve sushi) were packed, one with a group of happily inebriated, young Japanese men ordering from the extensive selection of Asian drinks and the rest with an in-the-know bunch of Mexicans ordering from the small menu with confidence and receiving intriguing dishes, including a winter stew (oden) that was not on the menu.
We ordered with confidence too, with cheerful assistance from the young waitress, who seemed happy to explain each dish in Spanish — not necessarily an easy task when dealing with a tableful of gringos whose Spanish ranged from good to “ma-ma” (Japanese for “más o menos”). However, her task was made easier by the small size of the menu proper: okonomiyaki and yakisoba in various configurations, plus a nice variety of appetizers and drinks.