Beard Papa's is yet another jewel in the crown of Japan's ability to take two seemingly disparate, unrelated concepts, marry them, and foist them onto the American people to the tune of vast commercial success.
As a chain restaurant whose focus is on selling, of all things, cream puffs, this venture brings along with it that other essential component that elevates the experience from a mere indulgence to an illicit thrill: guilt. You are an adult enjoying beautifully designed robots that exist to cause as many things as possible to explode, part of you is curious how exactly a "tentacle demon" and a big-eyed, buxom heroine become romantically entwined, and you are going out of your way to get to a store that exists to sell you fatty pastries stuffed with sugar.
And you are going to love it.
The brightly lit yellow space in the pedway of Block 37 entices with its logo, which seems to be a depiction of a happy longshoreman for some reason. Once inside, we leave the marketing behind and get down to business. Let's get this out of the way: The place serves coffee and milkshakes. But the cream puffs are the star of the show. Ask to have yours dipped in chocolate, if you're into that sort of thing, and then have the staff stuff them with your choice of vanilla custard, chocolate cream, or maybe a little Baileys Irish Cream-flavored ice cream.
The pastries run about $3 with tax, with small surcharges for extras like ice cream and the chocolate dip.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman