When eating raw fish is simply not enough, the Japanese also have teppanyaki.
Location: 24 Bellair Street
Price: $$ Lunch prices are great, $11 for a steak? :O but dinner prices can be far more exorbitant)
A little while back my friend and I decided to try out Yamato for a more authentic teppanyaki/robata (flat iron grill) experience. Immediately when I walked in I noticed that all the servers and chefs appeared to be Japanese! The waitresses were also in kimonos. A nice touch to add to both the authenticity and atmosphere. These waitresses also happened to be ninjas. Our tea was constantly refilled — it was as if we had infinite supplies of green tea in our cups because they would always somehow refill our cups even without looming over us constantly. It was vaguely incredible.
In the afternoon light, the restaurant had a low-key and relaxed feel to it. After my friend and I both ordered our ribeye steak lunches, both with the addition of teppan fried rice ($4 each), and our onion soup had arrived, our teppanyaki chef Romeo soon arived. Yes, his name was Romeo!
In any case, I wish I took a video because Romeo totally went all out. He was drumming on the robata board, deftly spinning his utensils like they were batons or small swords, spinning eggs on the robata board, and throwing his salt and pepper shakers behind his back, only to easily catch them with his hands. I guess that’s the cool thing about a good teppanyaki experience because you get a cool show in addition to the yummy food.
When I was first presented with this bowl of fried rice, while I had been impressed by his performance I was unsure about the taste. When I began eating, however, I could only say that it was some of the best fried rice that I have ever eaten. The rice was still soft, but it had a delicious flavor imparted into the grains from the grill. The vegetables, garlic, and the wasabi butter all came together in this display to show me how even simple rice can be extremely delicious if done right.
Before our steaks came out, Romeo explained to us that we could use these two sauces for the steak and the vegetables. There is a ponzu sauce (think of a soy sauce with bright citrus notes) and a wasabi mustard horseradish-esque sauce.
He also did something I’m sure many of us secretly enjoy. He waited until I was ready before setting this onion volcano alight with the alcohol and the torch so that I could capture the maximum amount of flame.
While my friend did not enjoy the fatty bits of the steak, I feel like if you’re going to have a steak, you might as well do it up and fully indulge yourself! I for one love the fatty pieces of steak (who would have guessed?…) And the taste of this steak was perfect, be it by itself, or with either of the sauces. I personally feel like there was no need for the teriyaki sauce accompanying the steak. Either way, Romeo cooked it exactly to medium rare as I had asked, and the assortment of zucchini,mushrooms, onions and carrots gave me my necessary serving of vegetables for lunch as well. A very well rounded lunch for $15! (It would have been $11 if I had normal rice…)
Conclusion: If you guys like steak and you want a quick fix, I really think that this place is awesome to go to for lunch. Plus… FIRE!! Isn’t that high flame a-ma-zing? 8.5/10