Went there last week for the first time last week for a special occasion based upon glowing recommendations from this board. I enjoyed the food, and found the decor to be fine and warm. Service was also nice. That being said I did not find it to be special jewel so many have proclaimed it to be (maybe we ordered the wrong stuff?), and I would not go out of my way for it again when there are other comparable alternatives closer to me.
Started with an order of shumai and gyoza. Shumai was okay, but tasted like shumai at most Japanese restaurants, ie. okay but I suspect frozen, mass-produced, not home-made (could anyone confirm or dispel that assumption with confidence?). Gyoza was also just okay, but appeared to be home-made.
For mains we had the sushi/sashimi for 2, an order of the ramen, and an order of the tempura udon. First, the sushi/sashimi was good with a nice variety. It certainly tasted very fresh, which should be standard but is not always so. Highlights were the tuna sushi and sashimi and the spicy mussels.
Then, for me, a test of the quality of a true Japanese restaurant, the udon. The udon part was excellent. The tempura part, not so much. The udon had a nice, flavorful, clear broth. The tempura shrimp had far too much batter. Adding excessive amounts of batter does not mask the use of smaller shrimp, it actually calls attention to it. Either use larger shrimp with less batter and charge more, or use the same size shrimp with less batter. After the first bite I had to strip off about 2/3 of the batter. That being said the tempura batter was of perfect consistency, and it was very well fried (just use less of it!). So overall, very good udon.
Ramen was okay. Pork in it was overcooked. Broth was good, but a little bland (kind of the opposite problem from the ramen broth at Momofuku in NYC which could have been good, but was way too salty. A halfway point between the two would be ideal). Had the regular size order, which was very generous.
Overall, very good, but not the sublime experience so many people have written about here which would make it a destination spot, imho.
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