Thursday, May 26, 2011

Akasaka Japanese Restaurant

Sake appletinis ($8 each).
For some reason, the sake cocktails are no longer listed out in the menu. I quite liked the sake almontini the first time I came here, and wanted to know what other varieties they had. When we asked a server for a cocktail menu, she asked us what kind of cocktails we wanted. It was kind of weird. When we gave her a blank look, she started listing out common cocktails that we were not interested in. She stopped when I had asked if they had anything with sake in it. She suggested the appletini and something else with raspberry in it and said they were the best. She made no mention of the sake almontini until I asked about it. The sake appletini had little to no alcohol taste. It was okay, but nothing special. The blue flower was nice.

Our server suggested that we upgrade our miso soup to lobster miso soup for $1 each.
I didn't notice the lobster taste in the first few sips, perhaps because it was piping hot, but it came through  about midway in the bowl. It wasn't intense - not like bisque, and Jo said that it tasted like lobster only when she thought of lobster. I thought it was nice. 

Sashimi special of the day ($20).
I think this was sea bream. The sashimi slices were quite thin, and they were served over ice. There was dry ice in the shell that produced some small foggy novelty, but again, nothing like the first time Jo and I came to this restaurant. Jo seemed to like the fish, but we both noted some stringy pieces. The slices with weird strands in them were not enjoyable.

Ice wine foie gras ($15).
The foie gras tasted like butter, and seemed less salty than other foie gras that I've tried. I didn't really notice the ice wine anywhere in the dish, but there was a cucumber cup of sake. Jo poured the sake over the foie gras and unagi "tower", and we both thought that made it taste better. What was cool was that there was a cucumber taste to the sake when we sipped it out of its vegetable cup. The unagi was soft enough. Taking a bite with the seaweed, foie gras, and eel made the liver taste more like smooth peanut butter. I thought this was an interesting dish to try, but I wouldn't necessarily order it again. Also, I had no idea what the wasabi was for. Heck, we weren't even too sure about what we were supposed to do with the sake on the plate.

Spicy tuna maki ($6).
It was tingly in my mouth. There were a lot of crunchy bits. I liked it, possibly because I liked the softness of the tuna that day. Jo thought it had too many tempura bits and that they overpowered the fish.

Another special of the day: octopus slices with lily and plum sauce ($6).
The octopus pieces were chewy and kind of hard. The lily pieces had the texture of hard onions. I didn't really like this much, but this was Renée's anyway.

Toro hand roll ($6).
It sure looked like it was packed with toro. Renée thought it was fine. 

Would I return? Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with this visit. Perhaps it was because of what we ordered, but I wasn't impressed. Our drinks were okay, the food was okay, and the prices are kind of high. I probably wouldn't order any of the same items again if I were to return. The spicy tuna maki was good, but expensive for what it is. Based on previous visits, I think they do sushi and sashimi better in general, and the new wave maki rolls are exciting to try and read about. I think what bugged me the most about this visit was our server. She was brusque, and seemed impatient. Granted, Renée did take a heck of a long time, but she felt as though our server didn't like her by the time she wanted to order more. Though I was still hungry by the end of it, I didn't really want to order more either. The server was just too pushy... like a used car salesman in a relatively fancy restaurant. It was pretty off-putting. If I ever return, it probably won't be for a while.

Total damage: $88.14 before tip.

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