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Category Archives: Japanese

Flames and Saki – October 2016

Osaka Japanese Steakhouse
6730 E Superstition Springs Blvd
Mesa, AZ 85206
(480)830-8884
http://www.osakaaz.com

Organized by: Bill and Sarah

This month we tried a local hibachi restaurant. You can either sit on the regular restaurant side or wait for a table at the hibachi grills. The wait can be long but they take reservations so that helps. We arrived a little early to take advantage of the happy hour that ended at 5pm but service was terrible in the bar and we barely got any drinks so we asked them to seat us early. Normally they are supposed to wait for the full party and we were still two shy, but they got us to a table. Thankfully they also honored happy hour prices at the hibachi tables. That was a nice gesture to help offset some of the bad service.

The food was really good and was pretty standard hibachi options that you find at any type of these restaurants. Our chef, Daniel, was funny and half of our group even got into the Saki shots, including Janice! There was a moment that I was worried that Jay was going to take all the Saki. 🙂

The downside of going to a place like this, is that it seems like everyone in town comes here for their birthday. I think we counted at least 8 times the birthday song played before we lost our minds. Ha!

Service was pretty quick except for the beginning of the evening at the bar and Janice and Pat’s initial missing wine order. I think they tried to make it up to us by giving us happy hour pricing on all our appetizers and drinks. That was a nice gesture and much appreciated. Besides the over-played birthday song, it was a fun night with food, good times, and friends.

Cheers!

 

 
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Posted by on 10/22/2016 in Japanese

 

Japanese dreams among the culinary giants of Austin

Uchiko
4200 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78756
512.916.4808
Uchiaustin.com

Who would ever guess that in the middle of Texas, I would finally try Japanese food? Well that is what happens when visit the land of culinary exploration in Austin and get a chance to visit Uchiko. You can get even the most skeptical person to eat food unlike any other. I will admit that I am a traditionalist. I want my food cooked, not burnt and beyond recognition, just closer to brown than a fleshy tone. Sadly, this prejudice against sushi restaurants has kept me from leaping up to try new places. While traveling in Austin with friends (and some members of DDs) I found myself at an intersection of a carload of sushi lovers and an opportunity to try the cuisine of a James Beard award-winning chef, Tyson Cole.  I went along knowing that they would probably have a magical time and I would hopefully find something to eat for dinner. What I didn’t expect is that I would experience some dishes that were less slimy fish and more of a magical explosion of taste.

The restaurant is described as Japanese farmhouse dining and sushi restaurant and has an atmosphere of classy casual. The staff has the highest standards of service without acting like they are trying or putting on airs. Hungry visitors can eat in the dining room or enjoy the Sake Social Hour from 5-6:30 but it is popular and the wait list starts to fill up fast so arrive early!

In total DDs style, we tried a plethora of dishes so we could all share in the experience. Most memorable of all was the roasted brussel sprouts that have received loads of rave reviews and for good reason. Made with lemon and chili, these little crispy gems are quite unlike the boiled tragedies of my youth. They were so good that we continued to order them again and again. I mean really…what brussel sprout farmer hit the motherlode when they started supplying Uchiko?!

I never expected that I would try Gyutan Nigri (grilled beef tongue) but I did and was quite surprised that it wasn’t so bad. There was also pork ribs with a sweet chili sauce and pork belly with apple, cilantro, kimchi (heck yes!) and negi, which Google tells me is a Welsh onion. I say to that, the same thing I said most of the night “whatever that was, it was good!”

We washed all the tasty treats down with little glasses of Takara Nigori, which is unfiltered sake and served on little wooden trays, or some nice cold beers.

I did draw the line at raw fish just because of the texture but I was willing try to try most everything else. (some dishes took some more prodding or determination from our host but I eventually gave in) J The one thing I did learn was to not judge a restaurant by its cuisine because you might miss out on a great adventure.  Recently I heard the best way to describe this experience… “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make it one worth watching.”

Cheers!

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Posted by on 12/28/2013 in Japanese

 

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