The chowpup and I were in Rockville on Saturday afternoon and she opted for Japanese when I gave her a choice of three cuisines*. We went into Temari Cafe (Rockville Pike). The place is small, with perhaps a dozen tables and a few seats at the bar. We got the only open table.
I opted for the salmon shiroyaki, mainly because the chowpup was also lobbying for salmon. The pup got two onigiri, one seaweed and one salmon.
The salmon shiroyaki was accompanied by a green salad--mostly iceburg, but with some baby greens and a tofu appetizer. The tofu had a grating of fresh ginger and was sprinkled with green onions. I'm not sure if I was supposed to add soy to it. It was a bit bland but very refreshing and the chowpup enjoyed her share. There was also a bowl of miso soup, one of rice, and a few daikon pickles. The salmon itself was grilled perfectly, a bit salty, and the bit of skin I managed to claim for myself was delicious. I usually don't order cooked salmon out because it is rarely as good as what I can make at home. I'm glad I listened to the chowpup and tried the salmon. It was definitely up to my home standard.
The onigiri were a bit large for the chowpup and waitress thoughtfully brought a bowl with a fork and spoon with them. The fork and spoon were Hello Kitty items, and I noticed that all the other kids in the restaurant were similarly equipped. The onigiri each had a small topping on them indicative of the filling, and then a reasonable amount of filling. The rice itself had not been seasoned with furikake, but the chowpup wasn't complaining. She made it through only one of the onigiri and the other one came home with us.
(Note: she also had almost all of my miso soup and a fair amount of my salmon, including most of the skin. One rice ball might not be sufficient for a four year-old with a big appetite who wasn't mooching off her mother's plate.)
We were too stuffed to try the shaved ice desserts. I saw several at the table next to us. There were noodle dishes on the menu that would work for a less-adventurous eater.
Atmosphere: Neither dive nor white linen. It was clean, there was a big cheery lucky cat figure on the counter, and some Japanese variety show was on the telly. We were the only all-Caucasian table. There were kids at at least 1/3 of the tables.
Pricing: The salmon was $12.95 and the onigiri $2.50 each. Desserts were in the $3.50 to $5.75 range. Most entrees were $13.95 and less.
Service: They seem a bit understaffed, but our waitress was managing to keep my tea cup filled.
We will be back, although it is hard to resist the call of Ba Le and their excellent bahn mi when we are in that neighborhood.
*Disclaimer: Lest I sound too smug, the chowpup's initial suggestion was Wendy's. Those stinking kid meal toys are trying to destroy the palates of an entire generation. Her options were Thai, Vietnamese, or Japanese.