Sira-sira store: Grilling idea-A A +A
By Ober Khok
Friday, January 4, 2013
THERE was a conspiracy brewing in the house.
For a week, we were all hatching a plan to surprise Uncle Gustav on his birthday and so none of us entertained him whenever he hinted that “a big day was coming” or whenever he mentioned likely birthday gifts we could give to “someone special.” He looked miffed but we had to endure his sour facial expression.
On his birthday last December, we paired him with my nieces Krystal and Joy who have a talent for gab and diversion tactics. They told him they were going to a cousin who lives in the Mabolo area.
The truth: We had placed a reservation for the all-you-can-eat menu at Wakamatsu, a Japanese restaurant located on F. Cabahug St. The place specializes in yakiniku or grilled food. It’s a good grilling idea.
Uncle’s face lit up when he saw the restaurant, a place he had long wanted to check out.
The facade of the restaurant reminds you of postcards from Japan as it features a sliding door made of rich wood and glass (wax paper would not do). There are regular tables for four but why waste the Japanese experience when there are several cubicles outfitted with low tables with a sunken floor for your legs?
Those among us—my uncle, my aunt and their two friends of long-standing—who had to deal with arthritis opted for the Western style table in cubicle No. 1. The rest of us who were yet free from the aches of age went to the Japanese room across, but throughout the meal we crossed over to ask how things were. Uncle was delighted by the yakiniku experience.
At the center of the table was a cylindrical vacuum exhaust fan and on either side were two charcoal burners where we grilled our food. It was a bit hot for the tropics, but I am sure in a real yakiniku in Japan the heat would be welcome. Even so, we were delighted by this feature.
We ordered fresh scallops with butter, squid, prawns and meat. We included the signature Korean rice bowl, the bibimbap, which had everyone clamoring for seconds and thirds even. What a pig out. The wakame soup was satisfying as was the spicy shrimp.
What really won us was the mango kani salad. It’s a party of flavors in your mouth.
The chef achieved this by mixing slivered crab sticks, finely shredded lettuce, carrots and Japanese mayonnaise. We found ourselves again fighting for the last bit, and so we overworked the waitresses with more orders of the salad.
We declined dessert as this is not the strength of the restaurant; only two choices: shaved ice with mango syrup or ice cream stick.
The whole of idea of cooking your meal is what makes the restaurant work. It triggers conversation; something the birthday boy likes to do.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 05, 2013.