January 10, 2010

Gastronomic Ultra-Marathon Part II - Battle of the Japanese Restaurants

I love Japanese food. I think I could keep eating Japanese food and not get sick of it, because there are just so many different types of things to eat - ramen, sashimi/sushi, teppanyaki, donburi, tempura, hotpots, grilled items, salads, small plates and the list goes on! Sadly I've never been to Japan, it will definitely be food heaven for me!
I was very excited to be going to Sake No Hana as part of the eating ultra-marathon. With Connie knowing what the best dishes were to order, we were definitely going to have a huge feast! We had quite a number of dishes between 4 of us - from sashimi, grilled dishes and handrolls to udon and other cooked dishes. My favourite dish was definitely the special udon. It wasn't the usual fat one, but almost like thin rice sticks but what really blew me away was the soup base it came with, which made it a real comfort food, perfect for cold wintery weather. Best of all, it was one of the cheapest items on the menu! I think I could go back there and just order the udon (although the staff there would probably give me dagger looks). I also liked the aubergine, grilled chicken and yellowtail cheek. Overall, the meal was good but would have been quite pricey if not for the discount we got. Would probably go back for a special occasion meal.

09 Eugene Eating Marathon3

09 Eugene Eating Marathon4

That same week, I also went to Roka. As usual, we ordered too much food - 9 dishes between the 3 of us. I think the waiter was quite shocked by the amount of food we were ordering but well, it was part of the marathon and we had to satisfy Eugene's appetite for variety right?

Roka has a lot more grilled items as that is what they're known for. They have an open grill/kitchen right in the dining room, which means you will come away smelling of food. We had some tuna tataki and tartar as starters, followed by grilled black cod, chicken wings, glazed baby back ribs, king crab kamameshi (rice) and 2 different aubergine dishes. My favourites here were the aubergine, ribs and king crab kamameshi. I had ordered the latter thinking it would be like the one in Sun and Moon (which I love), which is like a claypot rice dish but the Roka version turned out to be a lot more like mui fan, almost porridge-like with a starchy sauce. Nonetheless, it was very very tasty and we were savouring every bit of it with all our different dishes. Roka does their grilled dishes very well and till now, I am still thinking about their baby back ribs.

09 Eugene Eating Marathon7

Between the two, I have my favourite dishes at each place but overall I prefer Roka for slightly better value and more contemporary style of cooking.

Still to come - Chez Bruce and the Ramsay Restaurants!

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