Out-of-town guests (friends). The Cat consults with the Husband, L, on business matters (with The Cat, he works for food, hmm there seems to be a theme going on, see previous post).
L likes Japanese food (loves sushi). My understanding was that wife doesn’t like raw food (meat or fish, more on that later) (go figure). We previously tried izakaya dining with them without much success.
Noticed in the paper that the Hyatt Waikiki opened their new Japengo restaurant (it succeeded Ciao Mein). Wondering what’s a “Japengo” sounds more like a children’s game than a restaurant. Oh well, worth a shot.
Since we were trying to stay away from raw meats and seafood (with the husbands emphatic permission), we started with the Japengo fried chicken.
Why fried chicken you may ask? Just before ordering, the husband mentioned how good the chicken wings at Hooters are. He claims that someone took him there, it wasn’t his choice (yeah right). So when it’s time to order we had fried chicken on the mind. Sigh. I must say though, these were very good. Not so much fried chicken, more like eating chicken karaage with cracklings. Very crispy.
The wife’s (Mrs. B) preference is chicken and seafood (more on that later too, it’s kind related). So next up, steamed Manila clams.
Very fresh and juicy, flavored with kaffir lime, sambal, and crispy onions. Too bad they didn’t provide french bread to sop up.
Continuing on with the appetizers, soft shell crabs.
Almond crust, milken, and sweet soy sauce. I dunno what milken is but everything was tasty. Took the shot just before three pairs of chopsticks descended. Whew!
A sushi roll (it was sushi, but filled with cooked ingredients, hopefully a goo compromise) was next.
Soft shell crab, snow crab, avocado, shiitake mushroom, and lobster teriyaki. The chopsticks were flying again.
Our server asked if we knew that we ordered two dishes with soft shell crab. Our response was “and you point is what?” Heh heh heh. One of the best non-traditional maki rolls I’ve ever tasted.
At this point, we decided to continue with an appetizer dinner rather than order entrees (they wanted to sample more dishes instead of ordering large plates). For a “palate cleaner”, edamame.
The description on the menu said it was flavored with wasabi salt, not sure if they forgot to put it on or if it was supposed to be subtle, that’s okay, it was meant to be a “palate cleaner” anyway.
When the restaurant was Ciao Mein, they made a killer spicy eggplant dish. Hoping to continue the tradition, we ordered the salt and pepper eggplant.
The eggplant is sitting on top deep-fried tofu cubes. L and Mrs. B liked it, for me, I preferred the spicy eggplant.
Ume reduction and lemongrass. It was a little hard to split this one up, Mrs. B and The Cat shared most of it.
The only entree we ordered was the miso glazed wild salmon.
Mirin butter, saikyo miso, spinach-basil salad, with crispy salmon skin. Winner, the salmon was cooked through to almost rare. Moist and tender. My only suggestion was that the sauce was a little too sweet. Mrs. B was very happy with this.
I added on two things I wanted to try.
I ordered a side size bowl instead of the regular serving thinking that everyone else would be occupied with the other food, wrong, oh well.
I also ordered the beef tataki.
Again, thinking that L was into raw fish, and Mrs. B didn’t like raw meat, I would eat most of it. Wrong again. Turns out, Mrs. B doesn’t eat raw fish, she loves raw beef. The plate ended up on her side of the table. Sigh. Story of my life.
We “forced” dessert on them.
Hazelnut gelato, crushed macadamia nut brittle, and toffee sauce. There was a prolonged discussion as to how to divide three profiteroles for four people, all the while the gelato is melting.
Last but not least, Japengo coconut crème brulee.
L and Mrs. B loved this one. Grated and young coconut on the bottom mixed with the custard. they couldn’t stop eating it. It was a little too chewy for me (just my opinion).
All in all a great meal. Heir apparent to Ciao Mein? More research is needed.