CONTRIBUTED BY MICHELE LEHANE

Jack's Cooking When the kids and I arrived on the island, the first restaurant my husband took us to was Jack’s Place. His theory was that he wanted to start our stay on Okinawa with a good first impression but not induce too much “culture shock”. I was slightly insulted that he thought I couldn’t handle eating at a place out in town without going into fits of anxiety and demanding to be flown back to the States, but my annoyance didn’t last long.

Jack’s Place has two sides to the restaurant. There is a gourmet dining room and the Teppanyaki room. My husband chose the Teppanyaki room since he had fond memories of going there many years ago when he was young and single on his first tour in Okinawa. If you aren’t familiar with teppanyaki, think Benihana-style where they grill up your food right in front of you. You can choose from beef, chicken, shrimp, lobster or a combination and every meal comes with soup, salad and bread. From my experience (and there have been many trips here since that first night) the beef is incredibly tender, juicy and seasoned perfectly. The kids really enjoy watching the chef do his handy work complete with a flaming onion volcano and some pretty good tricks involving bowls and pepper shakers. And OK, I like that part too.

We recently introduced some friends to our “secret favorite restaurant” (because we are kind of ashamed to admit we love a place on base when there are so many great places out in town). And guess what? They loved it too! In fact, they later came back and tried the gourmet dining room which they enjoyed so much they in turn invited us out to try it.

Jack's Tempura

The dining room has a variety of chef prepared meals like garlic steak, vegetable stir-fry and shrimp scampi. My favorite is the tempura that is served in a big boat. Plus, it gives the kids something to do when the food has been eaten and you would like a few peaceful minutes to enjoy your coffee. The dinners include soup, salad, bread and complimentary wine (Yup, I said complimentary wine!). I highly recommend the Japanese salad dressing which consists of soy sauce, vinegar and oil. Dinners also come with a dessert that is served whether you like it or not. And as my friend pointed out, dessert that you do not have to ask for does not have any calories.

On Saturday nights there is live music.

Hours:  It is open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9, Friday 5-10, Saturday 4:30-10, Sunday 4:30-9 and closed on Mondays.

Phone:  Their telephone number is 959-JACK

Directions:  Jack’s Place is located just inside of Kadena Gate 1.  Turn right just after coming in the gate and when the road bends left, you will see an unusual building built on the side of a hill on your left.  That is Jack’s.

Jack's Outside

 

Website:  www.kadenaforcesupport.com/jacksplace.html

PDF Menu download 

26 COMMENTS

  1. The absolute worst Restaurant on island in my opinion. Not sure if we’ve just been on off nights but the two times we have been (one dining side, other tempenyaki) it has been horrible. Food tasted like it was prepared 3 days in advance and placed under heat lamps. I cannot understand why anyone would eat here when there’s much better food to be had just 10 minutes off base, and cheaper! People were friendly at jacks place I’ll give them that, but I guess you have to be when your food tastes like play-dough.

    • I would have agreed with you in 2008, but honestly the longer we live here and the more often we eat at Jack’s the more we like it! I recall the first trip there I thought it was sort of flavorless, but either it has gotten much better or we have gotten used to it!

  2. I was stationed on Okinawa in the mid 1990’s; Jack’s Place was one of my favorite restaurants. It was a well kept secret and tho near Kadena, I am quite certain it was not on base. As I recall it was in a ‘house’ which had a veranda that looked out over the East China Sea.

  3. we tried jack’s teppanyaki side on a wednesday night. it was about 3/4 full with families, and i thought the beef tenderloin was pretty good. (somehow the iced tea was bad, though. dunno how that is messed up!) i would go back, but my husband thinks he prefers capitals or four seasons more. i will have to try to regular dining side.

    we split a creme brule for dessert, and very much enjoyed that. it was small, but well done. it also had a small slice of cheesecake, so my husband was very pleased that i chose such a nice finisher.

  4. We were stationed there from 2006 to 2009 and I have to say that my family and I really liked the teppanyaki side of Jacks! Very good food, service and atmosphere and you honestly can’t beat the price! Now, if you want my honest opinion the dining side is pretty awful but don’t condemn the place just b/c one side is bad. We used to go to 4 Seasons a lot too. Actually it was our first “off base” restaurant we went to when we got stationed in Oki and we loved it, BUT it is a lot more expensive and you can smoke there. I’m not a fan of that with 4 small kids. JMO.

  5. We love Jacks and go quite often. When my parents come they want to go here at least 2-3 times. They like this by far, better than any other place I have taken them to!

  6. Hahaha! If memory serves me correctly (and please understand that I was on Okinawa almost 20 years ago…which seriously makes me want to cry…because I miss it and I’m so happy to say we’re returning soon!!!) Anyway, as I was saying…if memory serves…Jack’s Place was an Italian restaurant when I was there!

  7. Jacks Place was the absolute worst restaurant I have ever been to. I honestly thought I was on one of those prank tv shows where someone comes and tells me I was set up. But after 10 minutes of waiting for someone to take our drink orders and then another 20 minutes to order food, I realized that this wasn’t a joke. The food was god awful, the atmosphere was a scene from a bad movie, and the service was the worst I have seen on Okinawa. Its sad that people think that this restaurant is good when there are a million great authentic restaurants right outside the gates.

  8. @Michelle

    I have found this site incredibly useful in deciding where to go on Okinawa. I have shared my experiences in the comments before, and have never had them taken so personally by the one who wrote the article. As someone who blogs occasionally, I think it would do good to remember that it is a good thing to invite comments and opinions on your posts of all kinds, and not to take them so personally. Your article was well-written and informative, and that’s what you should keep your focus on.

  9. Unfortunately, I have to agree with several of the comments here 🙁 I too, had high expectations of Jack’s after hearing others positive comments about it. Well I shouldn’t say ‘high’… but we did expect decent food. We went there for our last anniversary and decided to go for the Teppenyaki side. All I can say is that we were really disapointed; and since we had never had Teppenyaki here we didn’t even have anything to compare it to. Friends later took us to Four Seasons on 58 and it was SOO much better!! No comparison. I am totally not ‘dissing’ Jack’s for those who like it, it’s just an opinion. We just won’t go back and spend that much money for such poor food. Like previously mentioned the atmosphere is nice. I want to try the restaurant at the Kadena Marina at some point. I know the view will be great, and hopefully the food will be decent. We’ll see…

  10. We went last night to the dining room. We were extremely disappointed. The appetizers were small, extremely greasy and tasted stale. The salad was all lettuce with one tomato, and the lettuce tasted old and wilted. I had ordered chicken kiev, what I received was a chicken breast covered in mushroom soup. I explained this to the waitress, and then the manager, who told me this is just how we do it. I’m sorry, but an internationally known dish name, and when you explain it on your menu as “stuffed with garlic butter”, you can’t serve me something completely different. We ending up going to Climax coffee for desert, and realized we would have been happy there for 1/2 the price and with much better quality food. I think we’re done trying to eat at club’s on base, there’s just much better quality out in town and at better prices, there’s no need to suffer through experiences like last night again.

  11. We enjoyed dining at Jacks Place, the tepanyaki side, with our kids. We had taken them out to Four Seasons in Awase and we had better food and entertainment at Jack’s. We do have high expectations when we eat out (hence the unhappiness with being at Lejeune now…)

  12. Wow, thanks for this review Michele! I see it was literally just posted, which is quite funny because my husband was just talking to me about it this morning. He was told it was a great place to dine. So after reading this, I think we will try it tonight! 🙂

  13. OK, besides being immature and having low standards, here is what was meant by my sarcasm. Instead of making a comment soaked with THINLY veiled condescension, why not make it productive? For example, why not say “I don’t enjoy the food at Jack’s BUT I do like the following places…”. I have to question the intent of a comment that subtly attacks the personal tastes of an individual rather than relating any useful content. Some people have a bad experience at a place and share that experience (like okinawa2009) but do not judge anybody for actually liking the same place. THAT is both useful and in the spirit of what OkinawaHai is trying to accomplish. Sometimes the tone of a comment speaks louder than the actual words.

  14. @Michele-your comment to Sam seems to illustrate that you are not one of those “mature, respectful adults.”

    And I happen to agree with Sam. It’s club food.

  15. It’s nice to hear that so many other folks enjoy Jack’s Place as much as us. Bet you didn’t know you had low expectations, huh? Well, while I am wallowing in mediocrity I will answer some questions a few people asked. To D, they do still offer the rack of lamb. I have not tried it, but I would love to know if it is still as good as you remember. (maybe you can post on some day and let us know). To Brad, the tempura comes with the traditional sauce. Personally, that is my favorite and one of the reasons I like tempura so much. BTW it does come heavy on the shrimp (which most people probably like) but I order mine sans the shrimp (and then I get extra veggies). To Sam, since you are a tempanyaki connoisseur, why not share your knowledge with the rest of us and write a post about it? After all, that is what OkinawaHai is all about. Mature, respectful adults sharing our experiences here on beautiful Okinawa so that others may enjoy their time here too.

  16. We’ve been there, it is the typical glorified military cafeteria version of food- the salads are the same, the food is okay but never quite gets “good”…it was okay. I know many people have different tastes in food and expectations of what they are going to get out of it, and for those who expect a little more- it might leave you wondering when it will get there. The pros are pretty much the same as any other on-base establishment: affordable, good for the kids, and “safe”. It doesn’t compare to the teppanyaki places we’ve had out in town- doesn’t even come close.

  17. I have heard that their teppanyaki is good, but we haven’t gone to try it yet.
    But once my husband and I tried the gormet part on the right and it was pretty bad.
    Felt like we got ‘jacked’ at Jacks Place!
    Yeah my husband tried the Garlic steak, it was cold and the cut was really really bad.
    And I got the Gengis Khan meal, the fried rice is rice with sprouts in it!
    It was pretty bad. Especially when he paid about 20$ for the steak!
    I do not think I will try the right side ever again! But I will try the teppanyaki, esp on a Saturday night!
    Btw, Jack’s place does have a niec atmosphere, low lighting, candles etc! I like that part about it.

  18. Are those the famous “tempura”? Do they have any special sauce for that one?:) I love tempura’s and I never go out from a Japanese restaurant without eating a platter of them. Think I have to go out now and eat..

  19. Great post. We haven’t been since our last tour. Was one of our favorites then and from the sound of your post, it’s still a great place to eat out. Good to know that it’s kid friendly, as we didn’t have any the last time we were stationed here. I agree that no explanation was needed on the phone number. The menu-was a good suggestion-just poorly suggested.

    My personal favorite before was the rack of lamb. I wonder if they still have it and is it still yummy…does anyone know?

  20. Thanks for this write-up, Michele. We live FAR off base and do not frequent on-base restaurants, but Jack’s Place is my hands down favorite on base restaurant. We are a family of 6 (5 of which order off of the menu) and we can get out of there for around $50. Which is great for a teppanyaki place. I love seeing the actual “Jack” when we are there. He is always appreciative of our coming to eat there. I personally didn’t think your write-up needed a link to the menu or an explanation of the phone number. We have brains, we can find the menu ourselves and dicipher the phone number.

  21. Just for the record, 959-JACK is actually a phone number. It corresponds to the letter mapping on standard phones and most cell phones (other than a Blackberry). The word JACK converts to 5225 and is an easy way to remeber a number.

  22. Had a good chuckle about the dessert you didn’t ask for note… I’m totally borrowing that line. 🙂

    We went to Jack’s when we very first got here and really enjoyed the teppanyaki side. The staff were very accomodating for our kids – we had a great time. It was also fun to be able to show the kids what things were like at our first date (we’d gone to a teppanyaki place in the States).

  23. Wow, no link to the menu on kadena force support or anything? Also ‘959-JACK’ isn’t a phone number. For those of you who don’t want to deal with that. It’s 959-5225. Or 098-959-5225 from your cell phone.

    We go to Jack’s a lot. They accept credit cards and dollars only. The dining room is far better than the teppanyaki room in my opinion. The price is right, the food is good and it’s a nice change from Chili’s. It’s too bad they aren’t open for lunch.

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