Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm an expert on the normal food...

It is a strange title, but it is true.  I do like Japanese food but most of the time, I find myself relying on the old favorites of mine like anything in a Bento box.  I like anything katsu style, I like most things served with rice and I like most dishes that have simple grilled steak or chicken.  One of my fall-backs at most Japanese restaurants is steak Teriyaki.  This dish is so simple and is usually a marinated steak, cooked and then sauced and served with some rice and vegetables.

It is a very simple dish and I feel that I can judge a Japanese restaurant by as well they can make this simple dish.  Sure those fancy Japanese restaurants may have 400 kinds of sushi on the menu, but if they cannot do a simple Teriyaki dish and do it well, then what good are they?

While in Las Vegas, I ate at a restaurant in Town Square called Kabuki.  Kabuki is a small Japanese style restaurant decorated in a new clean and nice style.  The entry way has shelves behind the hostess station with many large sake bottles.  The booths are clean and dark and there is a slate on the floor.  The rooms are open and dark with dark woods and light colors like green and other Earth tones.  The waitresses and hostesses wear high heels and skirts while the men wear long slacks and dark shoes.  It is like a hip new Japanese eatery.  First off, I was impressed when the sake came to the table, which we ordered.  It was a lychee flavored sake and it came, chilled and on ice, in this nifty glass.

I thought the sake was cool because the blue glass 'bubble' held the ice, which cooled the rest of the pitcher and made the sake just a little cooler than room temperature.

Now, as far as the fall-back item on the menu, the steak Teriyaki, it was the best I have ever eaten, even better than some I have had in Japan!  What I liked about this version, was first of all, instead of using tough meat, the meat was extremely tender and juicy.  I know that traditionally, enzymes are used like the ones in pineapple, to help breakdown the connective tissue and proteins in the meat, allowing it to become tender.  However, most places I go for this dish, don't do that.  They think, I guess, that because any meat can become tender if tenderized correctly, they think any marinate or tenderizer will work.  Most placed, marinate the meat but it doesn't get tender.  They start with rubbery beef and they end with rubbery beef.  This place, may have started with rubbery beef and ended with beef that almost fell-apart like it had been smoked for several hours.

I loved this version as well for the crust on the meat.  Most places just do a simple salt and pepper and this place actually used some hint of chili peppers, I think, because it was spicy.  It was still salty and peppery but it had a spice to it that really worked fine with it. I would give it a 4 out of 5 but will say this: that piece of lettuce is completely useless.  It was too big to eat by itself and really didn't serve a point at all.  Other than that though, it was excellent.

So, if you are in Town Square in Las Vegas and you want a good meal, go to Kabuki for what you need, especially your steak Teriyaki.  Then go across the alley for the frozen yogurt.

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