Posts Tagged ‘teriyaki’
I had neglected the final post from our Christmas trip to Whistler. Teppan Village had been floundering at the bottom of my draft folder until I noticed it this week. I clicked on it with a wry smile, the lapse in time a contrast to the speed of the meal. Our teppanyaki (鉄板焼き) was cooked and served within half an hour, a frantic eating pace.
Whistler enchanted us with twinkling lights and snow flurries, a winter wonderland for Antipodeans who celebrated previous festive seasons in air-conditioning.
Conveniently located in Whistler Village, Teppan Village was spacious with several squares of tables and griddles.
We shared a plate of tempura prawns and vegetables, and a bowl of steamed edamame as appetisers.
An ingredients cart was laden with oils, sauces and aromatics.
A shallow tray of condiments was dispensed with flair.
Our group of four ordered the teppan tasting menu. The first course was a crunchy salad of iceberg lettuce, shredded cabbage and matchstick carrots, and a soothing bowl of miso soup.
Chef Taka introduced himself and demonstrated his dexterity. He holstered his tools in his apron pocket and he expertly manoeuvred the spatula and knives. A pyramid of onion rings were flambéed into a fiery volcano.
Shelled prawns were fanned out and curled as they sizzled.
Batons of vegetables were sautéed until tender.
Plump scallops were seared to perfection. I’m a slow eater and my warmed cast iron plate was already nearly full!
The teriyaki salmon was deftly portioned and well seasoned.
Juicy cubes of filet mignon were a highlight and we chewed these slowly to savour the intense beefy flavour.
The aromas of the teppanyaki lingered.
Originating from Portland, Mio Sushi recently opened in the Rollin Street Flats building. At the nexus of the Westlake thoroughfare between Whole Foods and the Tom Douglas hub, the location has high foot traffic. There are a dozen Mio Sushi franchises in Oregon and Washington State. The chain is a family friendly restaurant with an extensive menu of traditional and fusion items, sourced locally and sustainably where possible.
On a clear day natural light cascaded in the floor to ceiling windows. A long dining room consisted of comfortable booths and a handful of tables. Fuchsia lamp shades accented the earthy tones.
The sushi menu is laminated and you mark it with a dry erase pen.
Ceramic tea cups are emblazoned with the Chinese and Japanese character for luck.
A cloudy dashi broth with wakame and cubed tofu, the distinct umami flavour of the miso soup was soothing.
Mr S ordered a bento. Clockwise from top left: mixed salad, assorted tempura, agedashi tofu, beef yakiniku and California roll. Served with a bowl of rice, each component of the bento was a generous portion and freshly made.
An appetiser size assorted tempura had crunchy battered vegetables and prawns.
On a sizzling hot plate, the teriyaki had strips of chicken dusted with sesame seeds with a side of steamed vegetables. The syrupy sauce was balanced and I happily emptied my bowl of rice.
As with most eateries in South Lake Union, Mio Sushi was quiet on a weekend but I’ve walked by during the week when it’s been full.
I have fond memories of watching Japanese cartoons and animated films during my early formative years. Dr Slump, Doraemon, Captain Tsubasa and Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli activated my imagination as a child and it was in these creative worlds that I encountered my first bento. Some plain, others decorated, single layer or stacked, I was fascinated by the elaborate meal in a box.
Wasabi in Belltown has recently reopened after a refurbishment. The interior is modern with straight lines and a lime colour scheme. There is a bar area and a sushi counter, and mirrors and chrome chandeliers decorate the main dining room.
Only bentos are available for lunch, consisting of miso soup, green salad, sunomono, steamed rice, sushi roll, daily special, dessert and a choice of two items from the menu. I selected salmon teriyaki and agedashi tofu as my hot dishes.
The miso soup was served immediately after ordering. Steaming and nourishing, the bowl of soup was gently seasoned with miso and filled with shredded wakame and cubed silken tofu.
I was astonished by the size of my bento lunch. There were three rectangular boxes with eight compartments in total, each beautifully presented. The contents from top to bottom, and left to right were: agedashi tofu, salmon teriyaki, cream puff and grapes, sunomono, green salad, steamed rice, kaki furai and takoyaki, and spicy yellowtail sushi roll.
Three inside out pieces of sushi, the yellowtail was finely chopped and lightly spiced. I don’t know if there’s a sequence to how you eat bento but I felt that the delicate flavours of the sashimi was an appropriate first course.
I’m indifferent to raw vegetables and I only sampled the green salad. Surprisingly refreshing, the sunomono had thinly sliced cucumbers and rice noodles with peanut sauce.
This version of agedashi tofu was garnished with green onions and grated daikon mixed with chilli, but was without katsuobushi (or bonito flakes). The three generous chunks of silken tofu were encased in a golden crust and soaking in a shallow pool of broth.
Glazed with teriyaki sauce and seared, the salmon fillet was well cooked and flaked easily.
Moulded into the shape of a flower, the pretty mount of rice was plenty to mop up the sticky sweet teriyaki sauce.
This was a curious component of the bento. I expected it to be tonkatsu (similar to schnitzel) but it was kaki furai, fried oyster! Crumbed in panko, the crunchy coating was a contrast to the creamy oyster inside. Hidden behind the kaki furai was a takoyaki, grilled octopus ball. A small piece of tender octopus was concealed in the savoury custard like batter. Cooked in a special pan, like the ones used for poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes), takoyaki would make a popular addition to food trucks here!
In the dessert section were three red grapes as a palate cleanser. Light and spongy, the cream puff had a chocolate dome with chocolate cream piped into the choux pastry.
A substantial meal but not heavy, the bento experience had the bonus of reminding me of Totoro and co.!