Consort here. DinnerSlut (DS) isn’t authoring this review. I am.
After returning from NYC for Thanksgiving, DS had a painful outpatient procedure followed by a nasty virus. After three weekends housebound, needless to say, she has been marinating a foul humor. Bringing the powers of my usual joyful and romantic self to bear, I decided to force her to go out to dinner against her will. Call it dinner rape.
We had about $13 left on a gift certificate at Roka Akor, so, that’s where we went.
Roka means gathering fire and Akor is Roka backwards (I did some research). But despite the secret code cuteness of the name, the restaurant has always been classy and delightful.
Before ordering, I requested that our dour server, “E,” bring us a bottle of sparkling sake to lubricate the mood. He complied and after our traditional toast, the evening slipped into a lighter spirit.
We started with a couple of cold appetizers – the Butterfish and Prime Beef Tatakis (I can only assume that tatakiot is not the plural of tataki). The beef appetizer, served with a truffle jus and pickled shallots, went down like a high priced call girl – with style and a certain grace. The butterfish sashimi, wrapped around tender white asparagus with a perky Yuzu dressing, a RA signature dish, always disappears too fast. They should serve 20 pieces per order rather than five.
We followed the first course feeding frenzy with a hot cup of smoky White Miso Soup. DS was pleasantly surprised that it was not overly salty as many sushi providers are wont to do. A second bottle of the Sawa Sawa sparkling sake didn’t hurt, although hearing “E” describe it as too sweet made DS think of drinking sugar syrup. Our server wasn’t exactly a cheerleader for any of our food selections. He had the sense of humor of Kim Jong-un.
The main course, a tasty glazed filet of Yuzu Miso Marinated Black Cod, made its table debut under a banana leaf tent and was perfectly matched with a garnish of crisply pickled red onions. We chose to accompany the cod with BBQ Rice (sweet and crunchy), Zucchini with Miso Mustard (a little tang) and Asparagus with Wafu and Sesame (our fave of the three). BTW, Wafu is a Japanese vinaigrette.
I would have been flagged for piling on because I insisted on dessert. We shared the Green Tea Custard with Caramelized Banana. For me, it was the end of a near perfect meal. DS, in her fashionable way, ate a few bites, loved it and then quilt gave way and she left the rest for me.
FYI: I’m sure DS will add her two cents worth to my review before it hits the site.
One final note, I had to call “E” back to the table to adjust the bill because I forgot to give him the $13 gift certificate. No sense of humor at all, this move made him positively bleak.
Loved dressing up for the evening: tight fitting low-cut dress with hoodie. Leather knee-high boots for the occasion. Should have brought my camera, but forgot I’m always working when I dine out. “E” our sour server seemed to add to the evening comedy. I almost asked him if he’d rather be somewhere else, but I held back. I know, it isn’t like me.
After three nights of homemade chicken soup, I probably hyped up my assessment of R.A.’s food. Everything tasted great to me. We hadn’t gone out to dinner since our trip during Thanksgiving to New York City. Not sure if a trip to Don and Charlie’s for a disappointing takeout order of ribs and BBQ chicken counts, but that’s another review for another time.
I don’t want to be repetitious about the specifics of their food, since my consort did a great review of the design and tastiness, but I have one particular thought to run by you. Why don’t Japanese restaurants offer their guests some type of bread with the meal? After all, they have delicious sauces that are prepared with their appetizers and main courses. I know it’s a cultural issue, and gluten-free everything is the rage, but wouldn’t a nice thin slice of homemade bread be a welcomed addition? Perhaps we wouldn’t have to order ten sides with our main dishes if we had some hearty dipping bread to tame our appetites.
I asked our server if they had any bread in the kitchen. He mentioned a dish which wasn’t on the menu, “marrow bone with squid ink brioche.” We thought about it for a moment, but decided that $19.00 for bone fat and a piece of flaky French bread wasn’t worth it, so we passed.
We enjoyed ourselves in spite of the service and the absence of bread.
FYI: I googled bread in Japan and guess what? They eat bread.