Mi Casa Es Tsukasa

by Jenn (eating bender) on March 27, 2011

I ventured into new restaurant territory last night.

My friend Lauren has been raving about Tsukasa for weeks. A Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant? Doesn’t take much to convince me to try it out (ahem, Benihana). And so, last night, we did.

Gorgeous image courtesy of Tsukasa’s Facebook Page

The menu looked a lot like what you would usually see at a teppanyaki restaurant. But once they started bringing out the soup and salad, the similarities ended. The broth was much darker and heartier than usual. The bowl was filled with mushroom and onion. It was wonderful!

The salad did not vary quite as much – your average bowl of mixed lettuce – but the usual ginger dressing was outstanding. Does anyone know of a good substitute that you can buy in stores or make at home? I have yet to find anything, anywhere.

When our chef came to the table, he immediately set the grill ablaze! I was so startled, I did not get a picture. Lauren was laughing at me. I’ve seen fires at these tables before but never such a big one deliberately set at the beginning. It was crazy!

He started with his usual tricks and whipped up the fried rice, which was too mouthwatering to pass up.

I love the concentration on his face! The sauce he poured over the rice (after making it into a heart shape, of course) was a thick teriyaki. At other restaurants I’ve been to, they use soy sauce. I think it made a difference.

This fried rice was definitely one of the (if not the) best I’ve ever had. Speaking of sauce making a difference, at Tsukasa, they provide three options for dipping: mustard, teriyaki and ginger. Oddly, I was the only one at the table who asked for all three (where was the sense of adventure?!) but I was glad I did because they were all tasty and paired with different parts of the meal.

Next up, our chef prepared the yummy assortment of side vegetables.

Can’t promise no onions were singed in the making of this volcano.

And then, there were the shrimp.

Lest this simple image of the shrimp fool you, they were soon piled high with other ingredients.

What could that be, you ask? Usually I’m just happy with good ol’ grilled shrimp! But at Tsukasa, they came in either “garlic” or “golden” varieties. You can see the garlic on the left – the golden taking over everywhere else.

Lauren recommended the golden option which, in her words, is something you “enjoy without thinking about it.” A rich egg sauce, it is so popular that the restaurant even sells it on the side.

The shrimp was good – but very heavy. It essentially tasted like a runny egg on top and felt like I was eating a savory dessert! Since I wanted to save room for the rest of the food, I brought most of them home for leftovers. Even better to get two meals out of the deal.

The last component was the hibachi chicken, which was cooked in soy sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with mushrooms. You can never go wrong with ordering the chicken. Yum.

What. A. Meal! A fun experience, good company and enough to bring home for the next day. I can definitely see why the yelp! reviews say this is one of the best teppanyaki restaurants out there. I wish they had more locations!

Tsukasa, you are welcome to move closer to mi casa anytime. :)

The rest of the evening was spent watching Adventureland and That Thing You Do! Both great movies, although it was admittedly difficult not to confuse Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart for Mark Zuckerberg and Bella Swan, respectively.

What was the highlight of your weekend?


1 VeggieGirl March 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Oooh I love hibachi-style restaurants!

2 Erica March 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I loveeee Japanese restaurants!! I haven’t been in so long. I want a recipe for that dressing too- if someone send you one, please forward :) And the little volcano gets me every time. The highlight of my weekend was definitely sleeping! I was exhausted after this week!

3 Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I love teppanyaki restaurants, and don’t go often enough!
Just FYI, Kuni’s in evanston on main sells that ginger dressing in a bottle :) It’s ginger, carrots, garlic, soy, miso, and a few other things…

4 Sarah March 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm

ooooh, that looks like a fabulous dinner out! i love hibachi dinners. it’s so much fun & i love watching my food be prepared!

5 BroccoliHut March 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Ooh! Now that I am eating fish again, I can’t wait to visit a Japanese steak house like Tsukasa again:)

6 Toronto Girl West March 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I have to confess when I first saw the title I assumed that’s how you thought it was spelled in Spanish. But you were just being clever! 😛

7 Emily Semmelman March 28, 2011 at 9:05 am

LOVE Tsukasa! It’s right down the road from where I grew up and it was one of our ‘special occasion’ restaurants. Did you catch the broccoli in your mouth?

8 Megan (Braise The Roof) March 28, 2011 at 9:34 am

That place looks great. I actually used to work for a restaurant that was owned by Benihana, but I haven’t been there in ages! I went to Ron of Japan last year, but honestly I don’t think it’s as good as some of the other teppanyaki restaurants. It’s always fun to get a show, though! :)

9 Kristin Eats March 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

Believe it or not I have NEVER been to Benihana or any other type of hibachi grill place. I know I need to go, but for some reason I just never buckle down and do it. Those shrimp look awesome, though, and may have pushed me over the edge. :) Highlight of my weekend: a very successful short-rib braising session Saturday morning, which resulted in an excellent Saturday night dinner. Yum.

10 Monique March 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm

YUM! Those are my fav kinda restaurants :) I love the dressing too, I’ve purchased miso at grocery stores and have tried to make the dressing similar, but no luck…. I’ll let you know if it gets any better.

11 biz319 March 29, 2011 at 11:25 am

The first time I went to a place like that, I thought “golden” shrimp meant deep fried – imagine my surprise when it was covered in egg custard – I wasn’t a fan.

Glad you had a great time though!

12 Jen @ keepitsimplefoods March 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Hey lady! Saw that you entered Whole Foods Foodie Contest! LOVED your entry! So adorable. :) I also entered. Fingers crossed!

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