Nestled in the heart of historic downtown Macon sits one of its hidden gems, Tokyo Alley. Sitting in “The Alley,” otherwise known as Mulberry Street Lane, is a restaurant that features Japanese and Thai Cuisine. Established in 1992, it won the Foodie Award for “Best Asian” in 2008 and 2009.
The restaurant itself is located in a beautiful old building next door to The Downtown Grill. The atmosphere is intimate in the dinner setting, with a medium-sized dimly lit main room. However, the condensed main room makes for quick and personal service.
Tony and I were seated within a minute of arriving and drink orders were taken less than minute after being seated. The staff covered the room as a whole, with no one server taking one specific table, and we were checked on regularly.
An interesting aspect of Tokyo Alley is their choice of drinks. While it does have the common options, such as water or soda, as well as Jasmine and Green tea, the unique aspect is what they don’t serve. Tokyo Alley does not have any alcohol options on the menu. But they don’t believe that should stop you from bringing it into their restaurant and enjoying it with their dinner. It’s a BYOB situation, quite literally. While some patrons brought wine and were offered glasses as well as a bottle opener, others brought in six-packs of various beers.
The food itself, a mix of Japanese and Thai, lends itself to a menu that encompasses both of these unique cuisines. The meal began with a complimentary cup of soup, broth-based and similar to egg drop soup. The difference between the two was that their broth-based soup was made using beef broth, while the tradition egg drop soup has a base of chicken broth. I decided to order one of the starters recommended by others on their Facebook page, the Cheese Roll.
This roll is filled with “cream cheese and crabmeat and served with a sweet chili dipping sauce,” according to the menu. The roll itself was flaky and easy to eat, and the center was very sweet with the cream cheese coming across more prominent than the crabmeat. It was served quickly and incredibly hot, coming straight from the kitchen without delay. I have also tried the Gyoza starter before: “ground beef and garlic wrapped in a thin pastry shell and served with a hot chili oil.” I would recommend the Gyoza for anyone who prefers spicy and hot to sweet.
Our meal continued with our main entrees, Orange Shrimp and Pad Thai Chicken, both respectively Japanese and Thai choices. The Orange Shrimp, “shrimp, hand-battered in a sweet citrus sauce,” is served with their noodle salad and steamed rice. The noodle salad is a cold side dish of “spaghettini, diced celery, tossed in our special light and creamy sauce.” The restaurant offers a substitution of mixed vegetables for $1.
I chose to try the Thai section of the menu, having loved the Teriyaki Chicken on my previous visit. I decided on the Pad Thai Chicken, “rice noodles sauteed with chicken, egg and scallions in our sweet and tangy sauce.” It comes without side dishes but it is “garnished with lime and peanuts.” The Pad Thai was a step outside my comfort zone; however, it is one of the few Thai options that is not incredibly spicy and hot. I’m not a fan of spicy foods, but our waitress recommends the various curries for anyone who does enjoy spicy foods. The head chef is a Thai chef, and the curries range from hot to incredibly hot.
Tokyo Alley provides a unique dining experience for those wanting to try Japanese and Thai foods. The service is incredibly proficient and personable. Tokyo Alley is open for lunch Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and both lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday, with dinner starting at 5 p.m. and going to 9 p.m. Prices for dinner range from $14 to $20 with dinner and top off at $11 for lunch. Drop by “The Alley” and check it out!
Tokyo Alley: 'Hidden gem' of Mulberry Street Lane