Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse has been on my eat-out wishlist ever since I noticed a mega banner heralding the restaurant’s opening a couple of years ago. My wishlist is not short, so what the hey, it took this long.
Its restaurant sign on one side of the building is hard to miss, though finding the entrance to the restaurant required a bit of gumshoe work that involved half-circling the building only to find the front entrance being locked (oops, wrong entrance) then returning to the parking lot, taking the elevator to enter the building, then taking an escalator to get to the main floor so we could exit the main building to enter the restaurant. Don’t know if all of that made sense. Had my girlfriend, Manmeet, and I checked the restaurant’s website, we would have found the (not totally helpful) instructions on how to locate it:
Please enter the restaurant on the first floor from the outside. Free parking is in the basement below the building P-1, P-2 (ignore parking lot number).
Oh look, there it is. Finally.
Manmeet had lasagna before our dinner date, whereas I was ready for dinner (after running around doing errands with The Hubby earlier in the day, I was more than ready). I imagined the steakhouse to have some noise level, but I never imagined Taiko drumming and neon lights. Loudness has reached a new level.
Being hungry and a little lightheaded, I wasn’t sure if we were just suddenly picked up by an alien spacecraft because the interior looked really out-of-this-world. It’s a good thing I wasn’t under the influence of any recreational drugs. Not that I would be because drugs are bad. Drugs are sooo bad. Really. Except Mary Jane in moderation and also drugs as prescribed by your MD. Do you know that reactions to certain types of drugs include seeing neon green lights and hearing unrelenting booms made by Taiko drummers? Ahh, now I know what the interior decorator used for inspiration…
To think that I was already hungry, then I was given a multiple page menu, over a foot long and with enough choices to boggle any mind. I’m not sure if it was meant to impress me or deter me. We kindly shooed our nice server a few times because it took us a handful of minutes to read and chat about the menu.
We decided on spicy tuna roll, cherry blossom roll, popcorn shrimp roll, and fat ass special roll. We figured that since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we might as well get on a roll with being fat asses. I should say “I” might as well get on a roll, and not so much as “we”.
Our order didn’t take long to be served. The trio of spicy tuna roll, cherry blossom roll, and fat ass special roll came out first.
Some rolls in my mouth later, the popcorn shrimp roll was served. Not what I pictured. And also, not what I expected. Remember (or not) the Wendy’s commercial from the 1980s with the sweet older lady demanding “Where’s the beef?“… well, I demand, “Where’s the popcorn shrimp?”. Instead of popcorn shrimp, the cook/chef used canned tiny shrimp and maybe flash fried them to achieve that ‘popcorn shrimp’ feel. Guess what… fail!
At the outset, my curiosity stirred me to give the restaurant a try. I tried it and decided I don’t like it based on the following points:
- the surrounding was loud both auditorily and visually; I did not go there so I could dance and get jiggy with it, I went there to eat
- the menu is too reliant on newfangled roll combinations, but I shouldn’t be surprised given the theme of the restaurant
- the spicy tuna roll which is a usual order when at other sushi joints was not up to par
- where’s the popcorn shrimp? either the sushi chef messed it up or whoever named the roll doesn’t know what a ‘popcorn shrimp is'; let me help you: image results of popcorn shrimp at Bing and Google
Between Seattle and the Eastside, good Japanese eateries are easy to come by, and it’s easy to say “sayonara” to any restaurant that doesn’t deliver. Anyone thinking of using ‘popcorn shrimp’ in a roll, please give the roll some justice by using real popcorn shrimp.