Should have known better really. Water front location, outside tables, on the tourist trail; a recipe for a below par meal.
Teppanyaki is not the only option here; there are regular tables too. However, no one enquired when we booked whether we wanted the communal dining experience at the teppanyaki table, or just eat at a regular table. We arrived at our allotted time and there were vacant regular tables, but we were asked to wait ... and wait. After 20 minutes of standing in the bar we were offered a seat at the teppanyaki, but by this time we had decided to take a table for two rather than eat cafeteria style with a bunch of people we didn’t know. On a general level, the layout of the restaurant is not optimal. In a restaurant where there are evidently long wait times, even for those with reservations, it would make more sense to have a bar area that could accommodate more people.
The regular menu was as expected; a selection of grilled steaks, chicken and a token fish, salmon if I recall. Having been kept waiting we selected two appetizers to start. One arrived. The $9.00 Niku Balu - (seasoned tenderloin meatballs with pineapple chili dipping sauce). A good portion of average meatballs that were somewhat over cooked and served with just a dribble of dipping sauce. Another dribble of sauce was delivered on asking. No sign of the second appetizer however. When the waiter returned to advise on the progress of the second appetizer, he kindly delivered our entrées, promising that the Ebi Fry appetizer (black tiger shrimp, breaded and fried served with tonkatsu sauce) was on the way...
So, 2 medium rare steaks, one NY striploin and one porterhouse – I’m greedy, I like a little bit of the filet with my stiploin! Regrettably, neither was particularly outstanding considering their AAA status. To be fair, the NY striploin was passable. I managed to grab a piece off my girlfriends plate and it was tastier and more juicy than my Porterhouse, if a little over cooked for medium rare. For me, the buttery texture of the filet portion on the porterhouse is the best, and so it proved here. Had the striploin portion of my steak been as good as my girlfriends striploin, I would have less to complain about, alas, it was not. The striploin portion was tough and flavorless. I expect it to be more chewy than the filet portion of course, but certainly not tough. For two steaks costing in excess of $30 a piece, these were mediocre at best. Needless to say we didn’t stay for desert.
The second appetizer? It did arrive! Just after our entrée landed. Good try, but not good enough for a restaurant where two steaks, one and a half appetizers, two martini’s (had to do something while we waited!) and a glass or red wine cost you over $100. Halifax is blessed with an abundance of excellent restaurants, unfortunately this is not one of them. If all you want is a nice steak, try The Keg.
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