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  1. Takeshi Sushi and Ramen has had a soft opening in Courthouse, at the corner of Wilson and Barton (under Rooftop and next to Delhi Dhaba), where the Subway was for years. We are likely to be regular customers for their terrific tonkatsu ramen. They have not had their official opening yet, so for example, their soda machine had not been delivered yet as of last night (though originally it was supposed to have been there last week, they told us, but the vendor changed the dates at the last minute). They do not have a sign up yet with their name, though you can see Japanese lanterns in the window. According to Arlnow, they will be adding more dishes by the time of their grand opening sometime in June. Currently, the menu has multiple ramen options, some don options (fish or meat or vegetable on top of rice), and a page of sushi options. We had excellent ramen there last night. I had the shoyu ramen as I wanted something very light last night, and it was excellent. The abundant noodles were very good and springy and the broth was light and very tasty. Although I ordered chicken shoyu ramen, they asked if I wanted to try some pork as well, and the pork they put in was so good (better than the chicken pieces, which were perfectly good, but couldn't match the rich flavor of the pork). The toppings included a very nice soft-boiled egg (I think cured or marinated), scallions, a fish cake with a pink swirl on top (I liked it though I wasn't sure what it was at the time - I've had them before in ramen but never looked up what they were - after googling I think it was narutomaki), corn (I wondered if that was a gesture to American palates, but looked up ramen toppings afterwards and it looks like they're often used in Japan), and pieces of lettuce or cabbage (that seemed unusual to me and I didn't end up eating them, but again I see on looking it up that cabbage is not an uncommon topping in Japan). From the pictures on yelp, it looks like they sometimes have microgreens on top. My husband had the tonkotsu ramen, which is what I tend to order at ramen places, and it was outstanding, creamy and rich and flavorful and delicious. I will get that next time and we are definitely going back. We both tipped our bowls to get the last of our broths. They asked if we wanted our ramen spicy, and neither of us eat spicy food (I eat a little spicy food but not last night), so we declined. Another customer got the spicy ramen and they asked him how spicy - he said medium this time and he'll see if next time he wants more. That customer also got some avocado-topped sushi. I must admit that for sushi, I will not be your reviewer, as I am not a raw fish eater and generally stick with Boston rolls (which they have on their menu), eel (which they have), other rolls with cooked shrimp/crab/lobster, and tamago. But I hope to go with a friend who loves sushi and hear what she says. The owner or manager was friendly and chatted with us a bit, and told us that the chef had trained to make ramen (and sushi, I think) in Japan. The owner and chef apparently moved here from Japan not that long ago, and this is their first restaurant in America. https://www.arlnow.com/2019/05/24/takeshi-sushi-and-ramen-now-open-in-courthouse/
  2. After a brief stint as the Spanish tapas restaurant Calle Cinco, Conosci is now the neighborhood sushi restaurant Nama. The head chef, Handry Tjan, comes from Sushiko and Kobo. @MichaelBDC and I went and sat at the sushi counter on Thursday, their second day of service. Both Michael Schlow and Ed Scarpone (head of the Schlow Restaurant Group) were there to run quality control. We ordered the chef's selection of sushi & sashimi ($42 for 13 pieces), the tuna and jalapeno roll, octopus nigiri, and uni nigiri. There was a bit of a mixup as we assumed that the chef's selection was omakase (it was not) and that we had ordered one for each of us. We mentioned this to our sever and our comment was overheard by the chef and the two sous chefs in front of us so the chef sent out chu toro nigiri and a special nigiri of sweet shrimp topped with uni. After talking a bit with Michael Schlow, he sent out two orders of the beet nigiri for us as well. The fish we had was outstanding, and in my opinion, on par with O-Ku and Sushi Ogawa. We don't usually order shrimp due to @MichaelBDC's mild shellfish allergy, but the shrimp was sweet and some of the best I have had. Even the beet nigiri was great and is highly recommended. The only area where Nama falls short for now is the selection of fish, which is fairly limited and standard. There is not as much variety as Ogawa or even Sushi Capitol, but the fish they did have was very very good. Both Michael Schlow and Chef Tjan mentioned that Nama is intended to be a neighborhood sushi restaurant and that they were keeping things simple to start. Depending on the neighborhood and clientele, could add more variety fish and omakase to the menu. We'll certainly be back and crossing our fingers that this place is here to stay.
  3. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] Trio of Burgundy Sorbet In his New Years Eve fervor, Koji had decided to make a dessert with Champagne, and then he realized that they have tons of Burgundy on the wine list. Hence this dessert, a fitting ending to the brilliant savory courses at Sushi-Ko (this evening was the inauguration of the soup with grilled hirame and steamed ankimo, served with baby spinach in a broth brilliantly thickened only with kuzu starch). The trio begins with an aspic of sparkling white Burgundy - a 2001 Michel Frères Blanc de Blancs - which Koji had to special-order, served with peeled and macerated white grapes. The charming server Kiyomi (who, out of sheer coincidence, happens to be Koji's wife!), threatened a lawsuit against me if I didn't completely finish each sorbet as I would logically progress in a Burgundy tasting: sparkling, white, and then red, the latter two wines being on their by-the-glass list. The White Burgundy aspic with White Burgundy sorbet was made with the 2003 Rijckaert Hautes Cotes de Nuits "Aux Herbeux," and the Red Burgundy aspic with Red Burgundy sorbet uses the 2001 Jean-Jacques Girard Bourgogne. This little burst of inspiration is a perfect ending to a meal of raw fish, and will set you back $7.50. Which brings me to Komi. (Subject change). But it's not really a subject change, because the first time I ever met the great chef Johnny Monis was at Sushi-Ko, where Koji introduced us. And it's not surprising that Komi is one of Koji's favorite restaurants, and it's also not surprising that the first time I met Sebastian Zutant was at the bar at Nectar, because there's a common thread running through all this: if the words elegance, finesse, detail, lightness, and complexity strike a chord with you, then Koji, Johnny, Sebastian, and our beloved duo Jamison Blankenship (whom we just lost to Bouley) and the immensely talented Jarad Slipp are already in your basic repertoire. Cheers, Rocks.
  4. I understand last night was the soft opening. Looking forward to trying it..... "SEI Restaurant Opening Soon ... Real Soon (444 7th St NW)" by pqresident on pqliving.com
  5. https://www.sushiyoshivienna.co/ The a la carte sushi may be more expensive since 1 order = 1 piece but they have many varieties of fish. For lunch I had Boston Mackerel, Spanish Mackereal, and Horse Mackerel, in addition to Sardine, Yellowtail, Yellowtail Belly, and Uni. Each piece was between $2 to $3 dollars (the sardine was $1.85) sushi_yoshi_sushi_a_la_carte_.pdf Due to the impending snowpocalypse, I also ordered some fried squid legs (kara age) and something they called seafood pancake. The squid legs were medium sized fried 1 leg at a time and not a clump of squid legs like fried calamari. The legs were a little chewy, but I suspect that's how they're supposed to be. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them without the tartar sauce that came on the side. Not on the website are two pages of specials, of which 1 was labeled Japanese small plates (lots of grilled jaws and fish). The seafood pancake was one of the specials but it's nothing like a Korean seafood pancake. This is really a rather large fishcake topped with some tempura shavings and a slightly spicy soy based sauce. The first bite was a bit fishy but I soon got used to the favor and enjoyed the dish. This is the best sushi in Vienna (not many others in the area - Sakana, Sweet Ginger, Sushi Yama, Konami are others I've been to) and the additon of other specials makes this place one of the best yet unsung Japanese restaurants in the DC area.
  6. My sister wanted to go to Tachibana in McLean, VA for her 28th birthday last week. As much as I tried to steer her towards some of my favorite places for sushi, I eventually succumbed to her choice (it was her birthday after all) and agreed to take her and a couple of her friends there for dinner. The restaurant sits atop a bland-looking Chinese restaurant just off Old Dominion Rd in a neighborhood of hair salons, insurance agents, and dentist offices – your typical suburban office-park hell. But as soon as I walked into the restaurant, I was reminded that I was not in just any suburban city, this was McLean. Beneath the host stand stood a dry erase board listing what’s available or fresh that day. Let’s see … $12.50 for toro, $8.75 for uni, $7.00 for mirugai (giant clam)! Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kotobuki anymore. We decided to share a deluxe nigiri sushi dinner and deluxe sashimi dinner, a few a la carte rolls, and a couple extra appetizers. The dinners come with a choice of soup, a choice of salad, a choice of appetizer and ice-cream/sherbet for dessert. My sister detests miso soup so we opted instead for the osuimono – a clear broth soup with some leafy vegetables and a sliver of chicken meat. The soup itself was fine – a decent briny flavor, but nothing special. And I wasn’t exaggerating about the sliver of meat. The seaweed salad was pretty typical, neither bad nor excellent - but the oshitashi, a boiled spinach salad served chilled with ginger and bonita flakes, was just blah and bitter. Of the appetizers, the tempura was pleasantly light and crisp, unlike the age-dofu (deep fried tofu in a sauce of soy, daikon radish and ginger). A humongous yellowtail jaw broiled in teriyaki sauce was by far my favorite appetizer. The four of us picked every last morsel of sweet and moist meat off the bone. Which brings me to the sushi and the sashimi. When the platter was brought out, I could see why they charge so much. Did this look like the freshest sushi out there? No. But the pieces of fish are colossal! Cut longer and at least three times thicker than usual, the fish dwarfs the pad of rice it sits atop. This can be seen as a good thing and a bad thing. The good – you no longer think you’re getting completely ripped off since you’re getting more product for your $8. The bad - sushi is supposed to be about art and about the balance between the fish and the rice, the wasabi and the soy sauce. These giant slabs of fish certainly throw that way off. However, as sashimi they’re pretty darn tasty! Would I go back? It's not really worth the trip across town for me - especially when I have cheaper options closer to me for the same or better quality. But for those who live around there (and who have the disposable income for it), it's worth a look - if not for its sushi, then at least for its interesting menu.
  7. "The Trump International Hotel's Next Restaurant Will Be Sushi Nakazawa" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com If only this were not in the Trump hotel. They are trying to distance themselves from Trump though.
  8. Does anyone know when the JINYA Ramen Bar will be opening? They are shown on the Mosaic Center map, but I can't find anything else relating to this new location. Here's the Mosaic portion of their website.
  9. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] I have been to Makoto a dozen times-or-so over the years, and shaped by the crusty shell that has gathered around it, my opinion has become less critical, more accepting - think of the elegant decay that defines Venice which has literally been sinking for centuries. I still want to judge Makoto neck-to-neck with the finest restaurants, but that is simply not fair. The chef's menu, as always, has 1-2 compelling courses, a thing-or-two that shouldn't have been included, and the rest falling within the genre of interesting but not-quite-there. But yo, homeys, it's $45 for about ten courses! And if you order the tenderloin (and I urge you to despite your natural inclination to get the fish as the main course), you'll have a decadent, satisfying four-gulp portion of steak that is easily worth $10 by itself. Their small fatty pork dish is as good as anyones in Washington. The cold, unfiltered sake, though expensive at about $12 for a small carafe, is one of the city's great unknown treasures. The persimmon with a tofu paste is beautifully presented, but ultimately bland: but it's persimmon! - where else in the city will you get that as a savory course? You get a good scallop, a good shrimp, a couple mushrooms, all thrown into a miniature teppanyaki thing and overcooked right before your eyes. The small inital courses are always more interesting than the inevitable grilled-protein/soba/shaved-grape-ice which is the triad finishing the meal. Their sushi/sashimi has, in the past, been as-good-or-better than anyones in Washington, although my recent visit was perhaps the result of El-Nino: the fish was okay, but not world-class like it has been before. It needs to be repeated that the 10-course chef's menu is $45. Where does Makoto fall short? It dicks you on the incidentals, and I don't mean maybe. The supplements to the Tsukuri (raw fish) course are a rip-off. Avoid them and get what comes with the tasting menu (trust me on this). Thirsty? Ask for some water and you'll be told that they only serve "bottled water," but what they plop down in front of you is this El Cheapo soft-plastic half-liter Pennsylvania-Turnpike "spring water" that is so insulting that you'd prefer to have DC tap water in its stead. Your incidentals will easily and quickly double the course of your meal if you're not careful. The cold, unfiltered sake is worth the price, but other than that, try to avoid the bottled water, steer clear of the fish supplements, and don't order anything extra. Several years ago, I'd feel like a cheapskate advising you to do this, but things are different now: restaurants are not turning over two seatings each night on every table. You won't be hurting them at all if you go in and stick to the basic chef's menu with a beer and some tea, at least not during the week. This is my summary: Get the tasting menu. Order the tenderloin (not the salmon, or orange roughy, etc.) as the main course. Don't stress about the sobas, which other than the fermented bean curd, are virtually interchangeable though you'll never go wrong with the mushrooms or the yams. Do not order any extra sushi or sashimi. The last time I did this I paid dearly for extra fatty tuna, fatty yellowtail, spanish mackeral, uni, and egg, and quite frankly the only thing worth getting out of the bunch was the egg (yet the single greatest piece of sashimi I've ever tried was the fatty yellowtail on a previous visit.) Stay away from the bottled water. Be careful on your ever-increasing cold-unfiltered sake tab, which can quickly rise because it's so good. If you do this, you'll walk out of Makoto thinking to yourself, gee, how did they pull that off at that price? The answer: the chef's menu should be priced a bit higher than it is. Go see for yourselves, as this remains one of the great fine-dining options in Washington if approached with caution. "Fine-dining" is relative, but this place at least goes through the motions and makes an attempt, even if it sometimes falls short. Cheers, Rocks
  10. In an update, I went to Kimen Ramen this afternoon for dinner. I had their mazemen ramen (ETA: from the menu: soupless ramen, spicy hot minced pork / egg yolk / fish powder / minced garlic / green onion / chives / dried seaweed -- note, wasn't that spicy) and it was good! I'll be back. That said, I'm not sure the music they were playing was of this world. Or I'm getting old.
  11. I went for lunch today (Sushi Day!). The yellowtail was flavorful and buttery. The temaki was amazing, it seemed to surpass the regular rolls. The rice on the nigiri was great and held together very well. I don't know if it was a result of the other people in my party being regulars, but the cuts were on the thicker side. The salmon and the toro were solid. I've had better spider roll elsewhere.
  12. I ate here tonight based on Tim Carman's enthusiastic review and was very disappointed (Carman, you've misled for me for the last time...). The Akira Ramen (tonkatsu broth, with a couple thin slices of chasu, veggies, fish cake, and half an egg) was deeply mediocre. The broth, thin and bland, had little discernible pork flavor and mainly served as a carrier for the bitter char of the chasu. The curly noodles were little to write home about (or wax poetic about in the Post). Overall, a nothing bowl of ramen. I ordered the grilled yellowtail collar as an appetizer, was told it'd take 15 to 20 minutes, so asked for it to come out before the ramen. After about 25 minutes, the ramen came out first, and the yellowtail a few minutes later. The fish was moist and nicely grilled, but it won't bring me back on its own. Sitting at the bar, you could see bowls of ramen being plated sluggishly by an inexperienced kitchen staff -- nothing like the well-oiled machine at Daikaya.
  13. We stopped in for a quick dinner at what I suppose is a relatively new addition to the Capitol Hill sushi scene, "Sushi Capitol" on Pennsylvania Ave. SE between 3rd and 4th St. SE. This place is really bare bones - a small place with a handful of 2-top tables and a sushi bar in back. No real decor to speak of, and Japanese pop music playing on a boom box in the back. So far, so good, as it really reminded us of the places we loved back in New York. A pot of hot tea was brought out soon after we sat (a small thing, but not a guarantee since we were brought hot water and a lipton green tea bag at Hikari on H St. NE). We started with a nice version of seaweed salad inexplicably served over ribbons of romaine, and tempura vegetables. A couple of pieces of the tempura were ever so slightly greasy, but most were appropriately crunchy...no major complaints on either of these. The sushi was certainly a level above the quality at Hikari, Sticky Rice, and Nooshi. Based on this one visit, I'd put it below Sushi-Ko, but repeat visits may change that. It was served with freshly grated wasabi, which was a nice touch. A word of warning, the "spicy" rolls look to be served with a heavy dose of mayo, so if that's not your thing, steer clear. They have no liquor license, and I didn't think to ask about their BYO policy, but that is definitely something we'll be inquiring about before our next visit. Bottom line: I love hole in the wall Japanese places, and that may have inflated my opinion here, but I think of the sushi joints in the Capitol Hill hood, I'm putting Sushi Capitol on top.
  14. One of the more pleasant dining experiences, I've had in a long time. The space is simple, clean and serene which is a great reflection of the food. I went early so it wasn't so crowded but I'm guessing that this place will be consistently packed. If you had to try one dish, get the grilled Mero with miso. It's sea bass that has a nice char on the outside but comes out tasting smooth and creamy. My full post is below; Izakaya Seki
  15. Zeppelin with sushi and yakitori opened on March 4, 2019, at 1544 9th St, NW, in the former Shaw Bijou and French Quarter Brasserie location. Website From Washingtonian:
  16. Washington City Paper with the news. and this nugget: "I want to be the type of place where the residents of that area and people who are nearby can come once a week, twice a week... and it won't hurt their wallet," says Can Yurdagul, who's joined in the venture by his future father-in-law/chef Minoru Ogawa. The owners are also giving equity in the business to three of their longtime sushi chefs. Congrats Can!
  17. I had been in Osaka a few times in the past. It's a few doors down from Thai Cafe, which is in the Dining Guide, but I was surprised that Osaka was not in the Dining Guide. I actually was aiming for Thai Cafe but girlfriend did a last-second vector to Osaka, and it was worth the detour. Girlfriend and I had a very pleasant dinner at Osaka tonight. We ordered liberally throughout the sushi menu, with plenty of nigiri, including medium fatty tuna as well as salmon belly, and three rolls -- spicy tuna, crunchy real crab and avocado and eel. Among the nigiri was plenty of tuna, salmon, white tuna, yellowtail, eel, salmon roe and quail egg. There appears to be some kind of all day 'happy hour' going on during the weekends and a few other days of the week, so the pieces were nicely priced, albeit a bit small. Tuna, for example, priced for one piece per order was $1.95, so two pieces at $3.90 isn't bad. The one piece per order concept threw me off a bit, but we had more than enough food between us. The fish was uniformly fresh and colorful, almost glistening, and as good as sushi gets in the general Springfield-Franconia-Lorton-Burke area. A full carafe of wine, priced at about $27.00, along with all the sushi we could handle, plus miso soup and salad for two, plus tax and tip, came to just under $100. I will return.
  18. Have been indulging in Ariake for years (since they opened in 2005) - the original location is a stand-alone across from Hunter's Woods Shopping Plaza in Reston, a block off Reston Parkway. If coming off the Dulles Toll Road, instead of going towards the RTC, go the opposite direction; obviously various mapping services will get you there easily, more pointing out for those less familiar. I am a selective when it comes to sushi - Ariake has experiences Chef's, daily specials for lunch and dinner, and it is a decent sized restaurant if you want to eat-in. Beware, their carry-out business has exploded and if you go during normal dinner business hours the place is hopping. Despite having their own parking lot, it fills up fast and the employees often park on the grass around the restaurant to open up more spaces. Sounds tacky, but like I said the place is consistently busy. Prices are similar to other decent sushi places, the fish is very fresh and they can be creative. They recently opened a Fairfax Ariake location and took their better sushi chef and a few of the other employees there to open. For those who live in the Dulles corridor this place is almost on par with Tachibana in Mclean, and not as far to drive. In the warmer months, they have outdoor seating which is nice; the sound of their waterfall helps mitigate the noise from passing cars on the two adjacent streets.
  19. I'm starting a new thread despite the facts that Daikaya's new Izakaya shares owners, a name and a building with the ramen shop downstairs. I do this because it's a wholly different concept in most every way and I'm guessing the discussions for both will remain active and very different from each other. Of course, if that's wrong (I know the Izakaya is referenced in Daikaya's ramen shop topic title), please just combine the two but thought it worthwhile to suggest the separation. I'm also going to violate my own self-imposed rule of not assessing a new place until it has had to time to work out kinks and/or I've been able to visit a few times. Doing that because I'm not a food critic (or anything close to one), this new open is as anticipated as any in the city in the past year and already has lines waiting for tables, and, most of all, this may be helpful to some (always the goal). HEADLINE A very funky, cool take on the traditional Izakaya with a big focus on spirits, sake, beer and wine and pleasing food. Likely to do very well as a meetup spot and bar but probably less likely to win "best izakaya" in town honors even with time. Lots of good and interesting dishes, impressive beverage program and very good value across the board. CONTEXT After yesterday's NCAA "Elite 8" game at Verizon, we thought we'd try the newly opened Izakaya if there wasn't a very long wait. A good half hour after the arena emptied out into Chinatown and 45 minutes after the restaurant opened, it wasn't a problem at all. We got seats straightaway without any trouble though, by the time we left at maybe around 8:30pm, it was very busy with people waiting and the central bar area pretty full. VENUE I won't write a lot about the specific decor as I don't have much knowledge about Japanese art and design so wouldn't do it justice given all the thought and significance of many features. Both the Post and City Paper have already published excellent overviews of the design philosophy and specifics here and here in their pieces done pre-open. To us, the space is cool, edgy, and interesting in a modern and pop-culturish sort of way. They say the seating capacity is around 90 which includes nicely sized booths toward the back and a gaggle of comfortable two tops with 2 or 3 larger community tables toward the front facing out onto 6th St. The large bar dominates the middle of the space just as you reach the top of the stairs from street level. Entry is a separate door to the left of the ramen shop below, conveniently labeled "Izakaya." Someone was playing around with the lights last night enough for us and adjacent tables to notice and comment as they became darker, brighter and finally darker. Not a big deal but, on average, it's lit a bit darkly. Noise level wasn't bad for us when full but I'm guessing TS will report a noisier, higher number on the Sietsema-Noise-Meter. There is a fine line here between creativity and cutesy with the latter getting in the way of a more practically functional experience to a limited degree. One small example is the menu distribution 'policy' and menu design itself. The small plate, sharing philosophy behind the food is fun and worthwhile, however cliched. But, extending that sharing philosophy to menu distribution is silly. We went back up to the hostess stand to ask for a second menu for our table (we'd only been given one) and, after the hostess explained the intention was "that a table can share a menu," we were given another readily. Another group of six was also seated with only one menu. We found the menu itself cute but a bit annoying with colored paper pages pasted onto the first few pages of a heavy Japanese lifestyle magazine. Some of the pages had two sheets of colored paper pasted on top of each other, implying updated menus. We saw one table literally tearing out a page to see a page underneath it, thinking it an older menu (but it was only the 3rd night). Kind of interesting; a bit funny; more annoying. Suggest maybe considering a simpler, more functional menu or, at least, more than one per table. The bathrooms are cute, indeed reminiscent of shoebox-sized spots in Japan and a bit impractical with very narrow basins that make splatter and overflow more likely and the type of hand dryers that require one to insert hands into the device. FOOD We ended up ordering close to a majority of all dishes on the menu, drawing from sections labeled "Grilled Dishes," "Cold Dishes, Salads and Sashimi," "Braised and Simmered Dishes" and "Unique Dishes." Brief reactions as follows: - LIVE OYSTER GRILLED WITH SAKE & OYSTER SALT ($2.75/oyster): We ordered just a few of these to try them. Fine but nothing special. Maybe a tad under-sake'd and a bit overcooked. - SHISHITO PEPPER WITH GOUDA CHEESE ($3.25): 6 smaller-sized shishitos on two skewers, these were different from the more commonly found straight grilled Shishitos and very tasty. Our waiter told us about one in ten were especially hot and that was right. - MISO COD WITH CARROT PUREE AND PICKLED GINGER ($7.50): Not sure the carrot puree is the best accompaniment for this dish though the fish itself was fine. - GRILLED AVOCADO WITH PONZU AND FRESH WASABI ($6.25): This was an original and delicious preparation. One of our favorite dishes, it came served as a half unpeeled avocado grilled with pit removed and ponzu partly filling the pit cavity. Served with a spoon to scoop out and share. Wonderful combination of flavors. - CHAWANMUSHI WITH SHIITAKE AND PARMESAN ($7.75): Maybe a bit heavy on the parmesan but a very nice rendition of the egg custard dish with the finely julienned shitake almost mistakable for enoki. - FRIED MONKFISH (Comp'ed--See Service Notes): Also one the best dishes. Generous portion with light touch on the breading so plenty of nicely seasoned fish. The table next to us ordered two orders of this citing it as their favorite. - BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND PORK OKONOMIYAKI STYLE ($5.25): Its name notwithstanding (usually a pancake with cabbage and other ingredients? unless this refers just to the pork; maybe more likely?), this was a very well executed version of the familiar 'grilled/broiled/baked brussel sprouts with savory pork' dish found in many restaurants of all types. Very nice char with ponzu or something sweet. A bit more pork belly, even if they had to raise the price a dollar or two, would improve it even more. - “RUIBE” TRADITIONAL HOKKAIDO FROZEN SALMON SASHIMI WITH FRESH WASABI, GRATED GINGER, AND SEKIGAHARA TAMARI (Didn't order): We didn't get this but I wanted to include it here because it was one of the more unusual dishes on the menu. We would have ordered it but were steered away from it by some advisors. Evidently, it arrives frozen, sliced very thin and melts in your mouth quite literally. - HOUSE FERMENTED JAPANESE VEGETABLES; HOME‐MADE NUKAZUKE, NAPA CABBAGE, TAKUAN ($5): As with most of the menu, good value for the price. Pickles a bit ordinary for Japanese restaurants. - STUFFED CABBAGE BRAISED IN DASHI ($8.50): Think this may have been the most expensive dish but still very good value. Generous portion of a mixed pork/beef filling in cabbage gently braised. One of the people at table next to us was from eastern Europe and commented the dish was similar to ones she knew from home. A gently seasoned and satisfying dish. - ANKIMO WITH MISO ESCALIVADA (see service notes): This was from the "unique dishes" section of the menu and unique it is, combining a great Japanese dish of monkfish liver with a Catalan veggie preparation. We were excited to try it. Unfortunately, it tasted of vinegar (not usually part of either dish from what I've experienced) and that flavor was a bit overwhelming. That said, they couldn't have handled this more nicely and graciously than they did (see below). - WASABI OCTOPUS WITH WASABI SPROUTS, GREEN APPLE AND ARBEQUINA OLIVE OIL ($5.50): A delightful, fusion-ish interpretation of the Tako Wasabe I had recently at Seki. Adding the apple and olive oil made this very good. I preferred it to the straight version at Seki and other places. SERVICE We were there on what was only the third night for the Izakaya. And, as we enjoyed dinner, the place slowly filled to capacity. On top of all that, they're using a proprietary order-taking and transmission system that has some complexity and, for whatever reason, some of the servers were helping out from downstairs at the ramen shop. All said, and though of course there are kinks to work out, they performed wonderfully in many respects. Usually a mistake is an opportunity to delight--rather than disappoint--a customer if seen that way by a seller of anything including restaurant operators. Daikaya exudes this ethic whether upstairs or down. We noticed a couple of tables around us waiting a long time for drinks though food seemed to come out of the kitchen quickly. A manager comp'ed drinks. We had an issue with the Ankimo being too vinegary as described above. After a short and entirely constructive conversation with the manager, he took it back, didn't charge us for it and also comp'ed the fried monkfish. That was an above-and-beyond response we really appreciated. No point in detailing other minor service kinks they'll surely be smoothing out in the weeks to come. The hospitality of the staff is a solid foundation upon which to build. BEVERAGE We didn't partake of anything but, by the looks of it, they have a very nice bar and beverage program with many interesting beer, sake and cocktail options. Will defer to others to report on that but suspect the program will earn strong praise. BOTTOM LINE For a 3rd day, this was impressive and, overall, we enjoyed the experience. Most of the dishes were good or very good with a couple standouts. The place is very hip and no doubt will be very popular. Value is very good.
  20. We've been going to Rintaro for a while now and are considered regulars. They've been serving lunch for several months. B and I had put that on our list but for some reason, plans kept going awry....that is, until today. Japanese fried chicken wings with smokey tare, sansho pepper and wasabi arugula. There is some really stellar, excellent frying in the kitchen. The chicken was marinated and coated in a crispy, flavorful shell that literally melted in our mouths. Berkshire pork gyoza, chicken foot jelly. The "lace" shows you how light the batter is. Hand-rolled udon, with two fishes broth, tenkasu (deep-fried flour batter) and hot spring egg. The covered pot contains togarashi pepper and gomashio (sesame salt). Kaisen mori-don. Clockwise from center: chopped California big eye tuna, wild striped bass and kombu-cured halibut over Japanese rice with nori, tamago (egg omelette) and shiso; soy sauce; wasabi leaf pickle, narazuke (traditional pickles from the Nara region of Japan) and senmaizuke (a traditional pickle originally from Kyoto, made from turnips); carrot and daikon radish pickle; Tokyo turnips and scallions in mustard-miso; marinated cucumbers in rice vinegar with black cod; miso soup with shimeji and maitake mushrooms. Total bill came out to $95 (with 20% tax and tip). Rintaro82 14th Street (Folsom Street)South of Market http://izakayarintaro.com/ Medium article from April 2015 SF Chronicle reviews (for those of you who like Michael Bauer; personally I detest him, but variety is what makes the world go round): Original Review and Follow-Up Review from Last Year
  21. Having gone to Kaz Sushi Bistro countless times over the years, I was interested in seeing what Sushi Chef Jay Yu, who spend 13 years working alongside Kaz at the sushi bar, would be up to in his brand new restaurant in Falls Church, which opened just last Thursday, Dec 10th. It's located right in-between Smashburger and the under-appreciated Meat in a Box. An important note to diners: Takumi will not have a beer and wine license "for about a month," so do not go there expecting to have a Sapporo with your sushi just yet. Another thing: they are currently using a temporary menu which they stress will be changing in about a week. "It's full of typos, and it's embarrassing," a server told me. So please keep those two things in mind if you go anytime soon. I took a seat at the sushi bar Tuesday evening, and ended up feeling like I was at a Kaz Sushi Bistro family reunion: My server works at Kaz, the girl who told me about the menu worked for Kaz, Chef Yu worked next to Kaz (on the diner's right), and - this is possibly the most important thing I'm going to tell you - the Kitchen Chef at Takumi was the *other* sushi chef who worked next to Kaz on the diner's left (I've never known his name, but he's an older gentleman called Taka-san - he has chosen to switch over to being a full-time kitchen chef due to the rigors of endless standing). I was told that for now, Kaz is sending out one different employee a day to help them get started, and Kaz himself stopped in to wish them well on opening day. Isn't it heartwarming to see such a display of generosity and gratitude? And for those worried about the future of Kaz Sushi Bistro, have no fear: he will soon be signing another long-term lease, and is training some younger sushi chefs, as well as working on bringing over some people from Japan - although we've only written each other, I could "feel" an obvious energy and enthusiasm in his notes to me that I haven't felt from him in quite awhile. His biggest concern seems to be the impending arrival of Nobu, which will be located somewhere around 25th and M in quite a large space. Have no worries, Kaz-san - you're a DC institution. I started my meal with a pot of Caffeine-Free, Yellow and Blue, Herbal Tea ($4.50), a chamomile and lavender tisane by Harney and Sons, a very reputable producer of upscale teas, and this carried me through the meal. Browsing through the menu, I noticed some definitely influences and a few very similar dishes than what I've seen at Kaz Sushi Bistro in the past - I was determined to try some of these to compare them, and to see what Chef Yu could do untethered from the mother ship. Sitting next to a woman I correctly guessed was a Yelper, she had ordered the Flounder Carpaccio with Wakame and Yuzu Sauce ($12), and when asked how she felt about it, she came right out and said it wasn't to her liking. This was one of the things I was thinking of ordering, so I told them (nobody else was within earshot) that I'd be glad to take it, and for them to just put it on my bill. This was five fairly thin slices of flounder sashimi, topped with a thick, almost nutty, paste of wakame and yuzu. I thought there were a couple things about this dish that could have been improved upon, and when Chef Yu asked me, I answered him politely, but candidly - this was probably the one dish I had that needs a mild tweaking, but it doesn't need much: The issues I pointed out could be fixed in five minutes. My first dish was a Consommé of Asari ($6), asari being baby clam, sitting on the bottom of the bowl of clear broth, in-shell. This was a delicious consommé, and one that I would happily get again. It was just the right thing to start off a meal with. In something of a contrast to the consommé, I also ordered the Agedashi Tofu with Mushroom ($5), the definition of comfort food: soft, silky cubes of tofu, barely dusted, and wok-fried with plenty of enoki-like mushrooms, and a hot, thickened brown sauce on top. I loved this dish, and highly recommend it to anyone trying Takumi - the only thing I can think of that might improve the dish is if the amount of sauce was dialed down just ten percent; other than that, it was a gift at five dollars. This is one dish that I would strongly urge people to order. Having had the bird's nest at Kaz several times, I had to get the Bird's Nest ($14) here, and it did not disappoint while at the same time being noticeably different than the one at Kaz. Made with sea urchin, calamari, a very light application of truffle soy sauce, and topped with a quail egg, this dish is made to be mixed together before attacking it, and no soy sauce is needed, although this particular rendition was intentionally light on the soy, so I can easily see diners sneaking a few additional drops into the mix. Although there was nothing fattening in here, it came across as almost decadently rich, and despite its moderate size, was quite filling - sea urchin and egg yolk as thickeners in sauces have a tendency to do that. I was pretty full at this point, but I hadn't had a bite of sushi rice, and wanted to end my meal with a maki, so I ordered the Negitoro Roll ($8), made with fatty tuna and scallion, and I'm delighted to report that the sushi rice here is outstanding. I've always thought that Kaz consistently had the best sushi rice in the city, and this rice is a worthy contender. Sushi rice is such an important component of great sushi, yet it often goes unnoticed or unappreciated; not with me - this was first-rate sushi rice, and those many, many years of experience certainly showed up here. Highly recommended. Stuffed, I asked for the check, but Chef Yu offered me a dessert (I think he was pleased that I didn't waste the carpaccio, and that I seemed to have some degree of appreciation for what he has done). I had mentioned before that I liked yuzu, so he sent out a tulip glass of Yuzu Sorbet ($4) which I didn't think I wanted, but right after the first bite of that ice-cold, citrus-flavored sorbet, I knew it was the perfect digestif for this ample-but-healthy meal. When the check arrived, neither the sorbet nor the carpaccio were on it - I protested, saying I wanted to pay for the carpaccio, but they insisted that it was on the house, so I tried to make up for it with a generous tip. Although you can tell that this is a brand-new restaurant, only a few days old, Takumi also shows great promise, and is already one of the best sushi houses in Virginia (if not the best). It will improve a lot as the next few weeks pass, but I also fear that in the long run, Chef Yu may grow frustrated at serving nothing but California Rolls (I mentioned this to him, and he just laughed it off). Takumi is absolutely influenced by Kaz Sushi Bistro, and I believe that, with time, this restaurant will make the master proud.
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