Address: 仙台市青葉区国分町2-11-4 PSC ビルディング. Coming from Jozen-ji Dori down Ichibancho, turn right at the 77 Bank across from Mitsukoshi Department Store. It will be on your left-hand side between the first and second intersections.
Map: Scroll down below.
Open Mondays thru Saturdays from 6 pm till 4 am, and Sundays and holidays from 6 pm to 1 am.
Ever since a reader posted a comment on this blog raving about Gladio being “the best Mexican food in Sendai, and possibly Japan,” I’ve been dying to dine here!
Last weekend was a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; hit my beloved Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck, and then head over to Gladio for a new dining experience.
As my wife and I strolled into the restaurant a little after 6 pm on a Saturday night, we noticed that there were only a total of eight patrons in this large establishment, but considering that they had just opened their doors, this seemed about right. Yet, despite the place being nearly empty, we were told that only counter seating was available. We actually prefer sitting at the counter, as we enjoy seeing how the food and drinks are prepared, so we were fine with this.
The chipper waiter informed us right away that Happy Hour was from 6 pm to 8 pm, and that many beers, tequilas, cocktails, and wine were a mere 300 yen! What a deal! Unfortunately, my better half desired a frozen piña colada margarita (850 yen), which was not on the Happy Hour menu. It was refreshing to see that the cocktail was served in a traditional-sized margarita glass which stem was shaped as a saguaro cactus for a bit of ambiance! However, this was all merely cosmetic. “It tastes like frozen pineapple juice! There’s no alcohol in here!” said my wife in a disappointed manner. She remedied this by ordering a shot of 300 yen Sauza tequila and adding it into her margarita. She then commented, “Much better! This should be called a ‘self-service margarita.’” So that made it 1150 yen for an adequate, self-made frozen margarita.
For starters, we requested a small serving of guacamole (700 yen). Upon arriving it did seem small, yet nicely arranged with the freshly fried tortilla chips. After sampling a few chips, we quickly found that they were a little too greasy. The guacamole, though fresh, had little taste to it. I should have asked for some salt and pepper, as that might have helped.
Since this was our first visit, we decided to start off small. My wife went with a hard shell beef taco (450 yen) and I with a beef soft taco (500 yen). She said the meat filling and cheese were so-so at best, but the taco shell, like the tortilla chips, was too greasy!
My beef soft taco, with jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes was quite tasty, but it definitely wasn’t Mexican! The beef seemed to be marinated in barbeque sauce, which made for a unique taco experience.
Our tummies weren’t quite full after this, so we ordered the chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce, and something that I had never seen before; chopped beef and avocado tostadas (both 500 yen each).
The chicken fingers seemed to follow a pattern: Too greasy! And they were not very flavorful.
However, the chopped beef and avocado tostadas were delectable and the highlight of the evening! Still, a traditional Mexican tostada comes topped with frijoles (beans), that’s why I don’t like tostadas. So although I was very pleased with these tostadas, they weren’t really tostadas.
We were quite full after taste-testing the aforementioned dishes, and decided to call it a night, when the waiter, with a theatrical flourish, set ablaze a plate of beef fajitas (1650 yen) right before our eyes (and everyone’s sitting at the counter), and delivered it to the couple across from us. This did look tantalizing, and made me wish that I had ordered that first! Then I saw something that I had never seen before: People picking up tortillas with tongs. This may be common among many people, but I’m Mexican-American by descent, and I have never used tongs to pick up a tortilla, so this seemed very amusing to me.
I noticed that as we were dining, the restaurant started filling up little by little. By the time we were finished with our meal, the place was completely full and customers were waiting outside to get in. Despite the food, this place is popular!
The restaurant irked me in one other the way: The restrooms!
If a restaurant has separate restrooms for men and women, they should clearly be labeled so, either in English or Japanese. Gladio decided to use the same design but with differing colors on both of their restrooms; one red, one green.
This was problematic for me from the start as I am color blind, and in the low-lighted hallway it was difficult for me to see that there were actually two different colors. Luckily, upon closer inspection, I could see the colors accurately, but I still didn’t know which color represented which gender, so I had to sheepishly ask (it’s green for men). Am I the only one in Sendai who did not know this?
Oh, did I mention the table charge? 300 yen per person, which isn’t really much.
Because of the youthful, energetic atmosphere, my wife and I really enjoyed our time at Gladio, unfortunately we didn’t enjoy the food so much. Gladio is part of a corporation, and besides St. Marc, I’ve yet to find a corporate restaurant that is worth revisiting, so this seems par for the course.
You may enjoy this restaurant much more than we did, but we see no reason for going back. When we want Mexican food, we’ll head over to our favorite, Casa del Sol.
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