August 16, 2005
Denjiro’s menu is admirably wide-ranging, with all the staples of a sushi restaurant, plus a good number of hot-pot (shabu-shabu) dishes and a broad-ranging selection of appetizers. My son opted for the sushi-centered combo menu, which featured a large bento box with portions of sashimi, teriyaki, tempura, vegetables, and a bowl of miso soup. This came fairly quickly, so he was finished before my husband and I had gotten even half of our meal. Still hungry, he eyed our food in a manner calculated to prompt us to suggest that he order a few additional pieces of sashimi for himself.
Both Jack and I ordered sashimi and maki piecemeal, concentrating on favorites such as eel, octopus, and salmon. Jack is very much into fish roe, which I eschew, while I’m a devotee of complex maki rolls, finding one featuring smoked eel very much to my liking. While in Kyoto last spring, I’d developed a taste for Japanese pickles, so I ordered a side dish featuring many of my favorite types – dark purple baby eggplant, yellow daikon, green cucumber, and pickled greens. These crunchy treats made a perfect accompaniment to the sake we were sipping. I also split an order of edamame with Jack, the freshly steamed, sea-salt-coated soy pods making a nice filler as we waited for the sushi chefs to complete each item in our order.
I’ve always enjoyed watching sushi chefs at work, and the two chefs at Denjiro obviously had their hands full. If we’d been pressed for time, in fact, it would probably have been frustrating to wait as each item was prepared, but, happily, we were in no hurry, so we sipped warm sake, shelled edamame, and relaxed to the sound of soft rock alternating with Japanese music.
As might have been expected, we found the sashimi not to be the very freshest we’d eaten, but that was perhaps understandable given how far we were from the ocean. On the other hand, all the other items were skillfully prepared and tasty, so those less focused on sashimi or seafood would probably not notice this. Denjiro was obviously a local favorite, the room filled with happy diners, several of whom greeted the hostess and sushi chefs like old friends. Basking in this friendly atmosphere, we prolonged our meal with dessert, finding that Denjiro offered one of our favorites – green-tea ice cream. Finally, perhaps due to the advantageous exchange rate, we found our bill came to less than a comparable meal at our favorite moderately-priced Japanese restaurant back home.
From journal Jasper: Adventures in Wild Rose Country