It was love at first bite.
Despite hearing nothing but raves about this little Asian gem for months, I only recently visited. I quickly made up for lost time, however, by lunching there three days out of the next five.
Monday’s sublime tempura was followed by a Bulgogi Bento Box – grilled marinated New York Strip served with stir-fried vegetables, your choice of white, brown or stir-fried rice, chicken broth or miso soup and a salad. The miso had the perfect palate tingling earthiness and the ginger dressing was exquisite. I appreciate Chef/Owner Takashi Miyazaki’s stir-fry technique; nothing was overly greasy or over/underdone, and the onions and zucchini were surprisingly caramelized for such a quick cooking time.
My friend Robin Davis chose Sapporo Miso Ramen, declaring that one could not go wrong with Ramen. She was right. The broth was nicely spicy and the beer’s hoppy sweetness played well against the umami of the red miso soup. As is in the tempura, the shrimp were of a generous size and cooked perfectly.
Tuesday’s menu was all about variety. I was dining with my friend Joe Bushardt who suggested we do an appetizer tasting. The Dragon wing, described by server Mikyong Kim, as “chicken stuffed with chicken,” takes fried chicken to new heights, and the Asian BBQ ribs, tea smoked pork spare ribs in Hoisin BBQ sauce, would make Guy Fieri want to slap his mama.
Those were the stand outs for me, but Joe said he could not pick a favorite. He loved them all – my faves as well as the pan-fried Gyoza dumplings, the Yakitori, grilled chicken and the Tempura.
By Friday, I needed another fix so I persuaded my friend, Erin Ensworth, to share take-out. Despite being a little dubious, Googling was required, and she decided upon Yakiudon with chicken and an order of Dragon Wings. I went with Kushikatsu Panko breaded pork tenderloin, the aforementioned ribs and Yakisoba with chicken. After all, leftovers would mean less weekend cooking. Again, everything was delicious. The Yakiudon edged out the Yakisoba partly because the flavor profile was more to our liking and the thicker noodles were perfection.
I have heard only two negatives about the restaurant; some diners found it a little expensive and others found it to be cramped. As for the first, I completely disagree. The most expensive regular menu item is $12, and the portions are more than generous. Regarding the second observation, call me a Pollyanna, but I enjoy the close quarters. It feels a like dining in a big city where real estate, even in restaurants, is prime.
Regardless, Chef Miyazaki’s culinary stylings would be worth eating in a box with a fox, and I feel certain that Dr. Seuss would concur.