We've been meaning to try Black Rice for some time. It seems that we have been to many of the Guu izakayas but not many others. This restaurant is a little on the reserved side compared to some we have visited but we were made to feel welcome and seated right away. I find the challenge is in deciding how much to order. One strategy is to be conservative and then order more if you choose. Most items are quickly prepared so the wait does not become egregious.
We started with Tebasaki (house sauce glazed chicken wings). They arrived so hot that it took some self-control not to burn our fingers as we wanted to tear right in. The house sauce was on the sweet side, not too startling but very good while the chicken was tender and moist.
We shared the Mentaiko Cream Udon which we always enjoy and this was no exception. Marinated pollock roe is the main flavour but with a cream sauce, bacon and onion. Loved it.
The Spicy Shrimp and Bacon Ishiyaki arrived next. I startled our server as she wanted to mix the bowl for us but of course, I wanted to photograph it first. Taking pictures of all our food is one great annoyance of the modern first world for which we can thank social media. Oh well, I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it and didn't crave the 'likes'. Ishiyaki is evidently the hot stone and an ancient tradition. Of course, we loved the crusty rice at the bottom and the shrimp were a little spicy but not overly so. The bacon just added what bacon always adds. A nicely conceived dish!
They offer a variety of Kush -Yaki (single skewers ). We found both the Galbi and Tsukune (ground chicken) to be amazing but at $4 for each, things could get expensive quickly. As mentioned earlier, ordering additional items could be a good idea and so we decided to try their nigiri aburi in the form of Albacore Tuna.
They were generous pieces and had a slight torching. At this point, I am still not convinced by the point of this technique. I have not tried aburi often but so far, I am just as content to have my nigiri un torched. BTW, the albacore was great!
I would call Black Rice chic and comfortable although some tables are a bit squeezed together. There is an open kitchen which is always cool. Service was very good and multiple people checked on us to make sure everything was fine. It's a little on the expensive side perhaps.
For what it's worth, we give Black Rice Izakaya 4 out of 5.
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