September 11, 2010
2277 Chino Roces Avenue,
Been craving some good, clean, authentic Japanese food lately and so we headed to Makati's Little Tokyo. Walking through the courtyard, you could immediately hear a crowd and smell the freshly made Takoyakis and Yakitoris. Being a lover of these Japanese sidestreet goodies, I wanted to try it out so we asked if we could order from them (Hana) even if we were seated at Riozen. They gladly said yes and we were excited.
Sadly, Riozen didn't have the Uni Sashimi so we ordered it also from Hana. So that's Yakitori, Takoyaki, and Uni from Hana and the rest from Riozen:
Katsu Curry - One of my favorite dishes in any Japanese menu but been eating it so much when I was a kid that I decided to stay away from it for so many years. I've been reminiscing about it and when I heard that this restaurant served one of the best curries, I just had to try it out. Riozen did not fail to step up to the plate. Unmoved from its pedestal, it still served probably the best curry I've tasted in years. Just thinking about it while now makes me salivate onto the keyboard. Pardon me while I wipe the drool from it. The pork cutlet was cooked perfectly but the heart of the dish was the curry sauce. Perfectly made, seasoned, and thick. Tasting it catapulted me to my childhood. A taste I vividly remember. Transporting me to my fondest childhood foodie memory.
Sukiyaki - The soup was a bit on the salty side. The meat was tender but inconsistently cooked. I honestly have had better Sukiyakis than this. Overall, it was just ok and really nothing as magical as I had hoped for after that curry dish.
Mixed Tempura - As an homage to the cuisine, we just had to order some Tempuras. You can't go to a Japanese restaurant without sampling one of these deep friend goodies. Sadly, Riozen's version was also not as good as I had hoped for. The batter was not that tasty compared to the ones we had at Konbini and is pretty normal given that this was Little Tokyo.
One out of three orders is pretty bad for a resto in the so-called "heart" of Japanese cuisine in the Philippines. Again, am I being to meticulous about this kind of cuisine since it is one of my favorites? Have my sampling of really authentic food from Japan heightened the standards of my lowly Filipino palette? In more ways than none, I am happy. Happy that my search is still not over and optimistic that after so many heartbreaks, I can once and for all find the one.
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