Thursday, July 21, 2005

Yamamoto Japanese Grill & Sushi

Recently, one of the associates (read: people I boss around) at GFS asked me if I had eaten at Yamamoto's yet. I replied Yamawhata's?? So, I decided to check the joint out. Located in the old Lums building on Knoxville (for you Peoria newbies, 1621 N. Knoxville, just south of Cub Foods). Anyway, going in the door, I noticed today's "Dining Out" review from the Peoria Journal Star hanging on the wall. Lotsa stars...my favorite...stars. Anyway, read the PJS review at http://www.pjstar.com/stories/072105/DIN_B70D465V.027.shtml Sorry Ms. Howard, I gotta pick at you a bit, even though you did give me a whole lot of stars when you reviewed my restaurant 3 years ago. What's wrong with this article people?? I'll post my "what's wrong with this article" gripe at the end of this blog.

Anyway, it certainly does not resemble Lums or any other restaurants in this building since Lums...thank God. Since this was a spur of the moment idea, I'm dining by myself. So, I get seated with a family and a few of their friends at one of the giant flat tops. One of the guys & I recognize each other from where I work. There is quite of bit of stuff on this menu...not as expansive as Sushi Popo, though. About 25 appetizers\sushi\sashimi offerings and the same amount of dinner entrees. Most entrees start at $14 and run to mid $30's. I opted for the Chicken & Shrimp combo and iced tea. Yep, the usual watery iced tea you get at most Pacific Rim style restaurants. But it was refilled constantly. Dinner starts by the waitress bringing me a Japanese onion soup. Light, tasty, refreshing, little onion, garnished with chives and raw sliced white mushrooms. The salad came next. Thought that a bit odd...an American style iceberg lettuce salad (at a Japanese restaurant) with an orange\ginger\sesame oil dressing. There was enough left over dressing at the bottom of my bowl to toss with the whole lettuce section at Schnucks with, but nevertheless, it was tasty, too. While starting my salad, which I attempted with chopsticks, the Hibachi grill chef shows up and starts his speil. He poured our dipping sauces into individual bowls and distributed them to each person. Then the flipping and banging of utensils start. Well, the one utensil breaks loose from his control and carreens right at me knocking over my dipping sauces. He stops his routine, apologizes and half-ass cleans it up. He proceeds with darn good skill at fixing the shrimp\veggie appetizer and distributing it amongst the six of us. The shrimp were perfectly prepared and lightly seasoned with what is probably a combination of soy and teriyaki sauces. The veggies the same way. Just kind of non descript flavor...I guess that is what the two dipping sauces are for (if you have any left after accidental spatula flinging incidents). The waitress appears with the obligatory white luke warm sticky rice. He prepares everyone's order at once actually taking cooking temps for beef. My shrimp arrived a bit before the chicken and then he whooped up some cabbage. Same non descript flavors. Chicken is a little dry and cut into some pretty diminutive pieces, though a lot of them. OK. I know some of you are going to say "Hey, jerk-off, Japanese cuisine is SUPPOSED to be delicately seasoned!!" To which I would respond "Maybe so, but they do season foods with DIFFERENT ingredients!". The ginger sauce goes well with the seasonings on the chix and shrimp, the horseradish sauce, not so. So, I'm done. The show was fun but I'm not overly impressed for $22 & change. I'm going to go back to try the sushi, but if I want banging, chopping, flipping, and stir frying, I'll do so at home instead of doing this again. Usually, I don't go to restaurants until they have been open awhile so they can work the quirks out, so maybe I'm judging harshly.

So what's wrong with Ms. Howard's article besides I don't agree with all her stars (except the service ones)? Except for a few minor descriptors, does she REALLY tell you anything about the food? Why are you there?

See you around the table.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What makes Yamamoto's so great is the atmosphere. There are way too many of the same kind of resturaunts in Peoria. The same old burgers joints and steak houses. Yes , I would say the chicken is dry. You have to keep in mind that this is more of an Americanized Japanese place. If it was really authentic you would have not liked any of their food.