Where do I begin? This place is freakin’ fantastic!! In fact, I’m ready to head back tomorrow – no joke. I came here with a good friend on her recommendation this evening, and I am so glad I took her advice.
I will be honest, at first I was a bit put off – when we arrived, we did not have reservations, and we were sat in a booth, which was good. However, about 3 minutes later, the floor manager came around and asked us to move to a table because the booth was reserved. We then asked to be moved to a booth against the wall, but that was reserved as well. So we ended up sitting at a table. I’m not going to lie, I kind of wanted to leave, but my friend reminded me that would be rude on our part. I am so glad we stayed.
We started looking at the menus, and ordered cocktails first. I ordered the Blushing Geisha (Freshly Muddled Strawberries, Basil, lime and sugar with a blend of premium rums Topped with champenoise served over ice) and she had the Cherry Cream Soda (Grey Goose Cherry Noir and Cherry Cream). The cocktails were great, but she preferred hers over mine. Maybe it was because I had only eaten a granola bar in the morning for breakfast, or maybe the drinks were strong, but wow, it hit me hard – I had to slow down and wait to finish it until I started eating.
The restaurant is typical Japanese Izakaya style – small plates. I love small plates because it allows you to order multiple dishes and try a greater variety of food. We ended up ordering 7 plates!
For dinner, we ordered the following:
– Ankimo Liver (Monkfish liver with citrus-based soysauce). I didn’t think I was going to like this, having tried liver on an earlier occasion. But it was good – in small bites – but it was good. Would I do it again? Maybe. Would I eat it every day? Definitely not.
– Fried Pork Gyoza (Deep Fried Japanese style pork dumpling served with ponzu ginger sauce). Yum! I love dumplings, and these did not disappoint.
– Seafood Ceviche (Marinated Albacore, Shrimp, Scallop, and Pico de Gallo with Fried Wonton). Surprisingly, this was actually one of my choices (her and I both chose our own dishes, and then we shared). I know she loves seafood, and I’m always willing to try new things. The seafood was diced and when mixed with the pico and a little lime juice, it was a perfect combination of tang, spice, and flavorful seafood. The fried wonton chips were a nice touch.
– Yakisoba Noodles (Stir Fried Japanese Egg Noodle with original receipe Yakisoba sauce served in sizzling iron plate). Really are there any better noodles than Yakisoba? The answer is no. This may sound weird, but these noodles had the perfect consistency – not tough, but not mushy. She let me pretty much eat all the noodles, and I was happy to oblige.
– Chicken Yakatori Negima (2 grilled jidori skewers). These chicken and scallion skewers were wonderful, marinated in a Yakatori sauce served with (I believe) a peanut sauce. Delicious,
– Ginger Jidori Chicken (Free-Range Chicken Sauteed with Sweet Julienne Onions). A nice plate of jidori chicken, seasoned with ginger. If you are unfamiliar with Jidori chicken, it’s the chicken equivalent of Kobe beef. So tasty!
– Seafood Pot Pie (Miso Flavored Shrimp, Hokkaido-Scallop, Green Mussel, and Mushroom). Our final dish for the evening (and certainly the most filling, or maybe it was because we were already near-full from the previous 6 dishes) was the Seafood Pot Pie, one of her choices. While most of the dishes were small plates, this dish was a meal in and of itself. Imagine a pot pie, filled with seafood. The dish came out with a nice toasted brown crust. In a word, it was delicious. I am not a fan of shrimp or mushrooms, but the scallops and mussels were so tasty. The crust was perfect, and the combination of breading and seafood was oh so delectable! A great way to end our 7 course dinner!
Now, on to service. Kaori was incredible. Her service was impeccable! We were never left in want of anything – drinks were refilled quietly, she checked on us several times, but never seemed in the way or intrusive. During our dining, we saw her prepare risotto tableside for a table near us. When we inquired what it was, she brought it over, explained it to us, and gave each of us a sample. Note to self: get the risotto next time! The dinner was wonderful, but Kaori really added to our evening. I’m sure every other server at the restaurant is wonderful, but I will request Kaori from now on.
During the beginning of our meal, after our first meal item had been delivered (plates were brought out in succession, so as not to overwhelm the table), Thomas, the floor manager who originally sat us, brought out a cocktail for us as his way of saying, “I’m sorry” for the seating snafu. I believe it was a sake spritzer, and I let her drink it – she seemed to really like it. It was crisp, and refreshing.
All in all, this place is top notch! Please, do yourself a favor and visit!!