One of the great things about working in the city is getting an opportunity to read the weekly edition of the City Paper. Besides reading Savage Love and perusing the adult ads(Admit it you've done it), I enjoy reading the restaurant reviews. I was reading a review about a Japanese restaurant called Teppanyaki Kyoto, and I was shocked to find out that it has been around since the beginning of the year at Bryant St. in Highland Park. I go to Bryant St quite a bit, and I never noticed a Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood. From reading the review, it sounded like I totally missed out on a great place. Better late than never, I decided to check out the restaurant last weekend.
When I was about to enter the restaurant I can see why I never noticed it. There was no obvious sign in the front of their place. If they added a sign or logo on the top of their restaurant I think more people would know about the place.
I liked the inside of the restaurant, it may be fairly small but the decor was nice, simple, and to the point. I also liked the fact that there was a "bar" so to speak where you can watch the chef in action and we even chatted with him throughout the night.
Before I start talking about the food, there might be a few of you who are not familiar with teppanyaki. Basically it's style of cooking in Japan where they use an iron griddle to cook food. What sets it apart from hibachi is that with the griddle type cooking surface, it's useful for cooking smaller ingredients like chopped vegetables, eggs, rice, etc. Looking at the menu, I noticed that they had no sushi in the menu whatsoever. I think that's a bold and smart move because since there is no sushi, the customers that normally only eat sushi has an opportunity try other Japanese cuisine. The fact that they don't serve sushi sets this restaurant apart from all the other Japanese restaurants in the city.
For the main entree, I got the Hokkaido Okonomiyaki. It's a Japanese pancake made with wheat flour, eggs, lots and lots and did I mention lots of cabbage, Japanese mayonnaise, seaweed powder, and bonito fish flakes. What makes it Hokkaido is that it contains seafood such as scallops, shrimp, and squid. What I found interesting is that it takes 25 minutes to make one dish. I'm glad at least they were honest about it on the menu, and it was fun watching the chef cook it from start to finish. The ingredients for the most part all worked together in that there was not too much or too little of each. The only ingredient I didn't like was the fish flakes because the texture felt funny to me. It was almost like eating tissue paper. The Okonomiyaki was also very creamy because of the liberal amounts of the mayonnaise, and I liked how you could see some of the charred grill marks on the cabbage. It was a very unique dish and I can say now this is the most I have ever eaten cabbage at one time.
All in all, Teppanyaki Kyoto is welcome addition to the Highland Park restaurant scene. Once they have a website and a real sign, I am confident that they will even have better success. I am definitely looking forward to coming back and try their other dishes.
Teppanyaki Facebook page