How to Choose a ‘Yummy’ Japanese Restaurant…

July 11, 2012

Recently I have been enjoying some great Japanese food (at Roka, London and Nobu, New York). I usually have to be in the mood for Japanese but some friends have been bringing me to these places and they have surprisingly been great regardless of what I was craving. This got me thinking about what they had in common that could help choose other yummy Japanese restaurants.

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalepeno (NOBU)

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalepeno (NOBU)

First I noticed that they both have 4-letter names (Nobu and Roka). Then I realised that they have their own signature dishes in a separate section of the menu and impressive decor. Also, the menu items require concentration to understand all the Japanese names. Hence I have developed a theory; if a Japanese restaurant doesn’t tick these 4 boxes (name, signature dishes, decor and language) they are not worth trying because they will not change your lives.

Foie Gras To Umeshu No Ume To Nama Nori (Roka, Charlotte Street)

Foie Gras To Umeshu No Ume To Nama Nori (Roka, Charlotte Street)

So you’ve decided to go to a new Japanese restaurant but you are not sure what to order, ask your waiter or waitress. As a matter of fact if you are anywhere and you can’t decide what you should eat, the best thing to do is ask for a suggestion (9 times out of 10 they get it right).

Kankoku Fu Kohitsuji (Roka, Charlotte Street)

Kankoku Fu Kohitsuji (Roka, Charlotte Street)

BUT, if you walk inside the restaurant and are not greeted pleasantly, turn around and walk away. If the establishment’s decor isn’t the perfect balance of stone and wood, you guessed it, you should probably leave. Lastly, I would recommend that you go to the bathroom before ordering and if it isn’t luxurious and impeccably clean you know what I would do – find the nearest exit.

Yaki Hotate (Roka, Charlotte Street)

Yaki Hotate (Roka, Charlotte Street)

There is a myth that some of the best Japanese restaurants are only available at a ridiculous cost. Do not deprive yourself of amazing-ness with this false assumption. If you check the menu online and it isn’t within your price range, either go for lunch and order strictly off the special lunch menu without getting tempted by other items that are listed or wait for restaurant week in your area. (NYC Restaurant week is from July 16 – August 10 and Nobu is a participating restaurant.)

Age Watari Gani, no cucumber (Roka, Charlotte Street)

Age Watari Gani, no cucumber (Roka, Charlotte Street)

Go enjoy some Japanese food and let me know how it goes.

Live, Love, Eat!

April x

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