December 27, 2008
Pasong Tamo, Makati City
Having been to Japan, I think my standards for Japanese cuisine have doubled. Without exaggeration and sounding like a complete asshole, I believe that nothing can compare to the authenticity of the original. Ever since I was a kid, my family would frequent our favorite restaurant Kimpura and we've always believed that it was the ultimate representation of authentic Japanese cuisine. Kimpura was our comfort food. Coming back from Japan, I had the opportunity to go back to Kimpura and compare. I was shocked to realize that the food we had been in love with all this time was only subpar compared to Japan's. Sushi and Sashimi in Japan were both fresher. Ingredients: better. I've never felt so disappointed in my life. After putting something high on a pedestal for that long only to find out that it was not as good as you thought was definitely a bummer. As a result, I do regret going to Japan sometimes.
Kikufuji was nothing different. A subpar performance against the high standard that I put up. It was really nothing special. Yeah, there were a lot of Japanese eating there but it was disappointing. The sashimi we tried was not that fresh. The tuna was not that good and seemed old since it contained a lot of tough tendons in between the meat. Good thing the salmon sashimi was the saving grace. It was far better than the tuna. Better though doesn't mean best. Best sashimi in Manila so far is still at Kuretake in Rockwell. The sashimi they have there will literally melt in your mouth.
Since we were craving for some squid and in any form for that matter, we decided on Squid Teppanyaki. Flavor was ok. Nothing really stood out except for the toughness of the squid meat. The squid was really overcooked. Served on a sizzling plate, you can just imagine how tough it got because of the constant heat introduced to the meat. I never knew squid can actually taste like rubber. The best part of the dish was the Coke beverage we ordered as it helped lubricate the throat and allowed us to swallow "rubber" easier.
The Mixed Tempura, a dish I consistently order, was far from being extraordinary. It was just ok. The only thing left to consider is the serving size which was really small compared to the other Japanese restaurants out there. This is one of my favorite dishes in the Japanese menu but it didn't do wonders for me this time.
Lastly, we sampled the Sukiyaki. Our prayers were answered when we actually liked it. The serving was pretty big. A lot of beef was put into the soup. The ingredients were really fresh and the flavors were incorporated throughout the whole dish. We said to ourselves that finally Kikufuji did something right. Lastly but definitely not the least.
I've tried a lot of Japanese restaurants and only few of their dishes actually stood out. Kikufuji didn't. Being overrated and overpriced was the difference. Not the food. Chefs must bear in mind that real food critiques do not care about the price, they care about how the food looks and tastes. Those are the only factors foodies consider so instead of jacking up the price trying to trick people into thinking high price equates to high quality, they should concentrate on how to make their dishes as close to Japan's as possible. I still believe that somewhere in the Metro, there is still a restaurant worthy of being in comparison with the standard. Until then, let me reset my taste buds and search again.
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