Saturday, April 19, 2008

Applause Restaurant (April 13, 2008)

Two reviewers: ts and js

Again with the difficulty finding a place to eat lunch!

Granted, this time around it was already a bit late (2pm). Anyway, after wandering around for a bit, we drove by Applause on Oak (the space formerly Japone) and saw they were open.

I didn't have the camera on me, so I guess their website will have to do, picture-wise.

Lunch Special: served with miso soup, house salad and Yasai croquette
B.C. sushi combo $7.95
Salmon, tuna, hokkigai sushi & B.C. roll

I had this. It was actually very pretty in that bento box way. I don't think their site has a picture of their lunch specials in their entirety. I don't really eat sushi or sashimi, in general. I like my raw foods "prepared" in some way (eg, beef tartar, carpaccio). As for dipping sushi/sashimi into soy sauce? The whole thing just tastes like soy sauce! Anyway, let's not get into that. I do like sushi rice and nori. When I do eat sushi, I never eat it with soy sauce.

The sushi I had was not bad at all. I don't like those "fast food" type sushi seemingly on every block, but this wasn't like that. The salmon and tuna were their usual selves, no complaints. I liked the hokkigai; clam-my. ;D The BC roll was very nice. The salmon skin was actually very crispy, like it's supposed to be! Imagine that. The sushi rice was above average; it was more room temperature than slightly warm, but it wasn't ice cold. I also liked the soup and croquette, and even the salad, even though it was an iceberg one! So I guess I liked everything placed in front of me.

I have to agree about the sushi. The rice, I thought, looked better than "regular" fast food sushi joints. I'm very wary of those fast food sushi joints -- because, well, they are handling raw fish.

My take on the soy sauce thing: if it's bad sushi, yes, slather on the wasabi and dip the darn thing in soy sauce, to distract from the fact that you are eating BAD SUSHI. Kind of like my take on fries and ketchup.

If the sushi's good, there is very little need for soy sauce and wasabi. The fish and the rice is more than enough.

Shoyu Ramen $6.95

I'm a big fan of ramen. There's something about the springy noodles that I love. I love instant noodles for their springy noodles. (I hate soggy noodles!)

Ramen, like pasta and pizza, is another one of these food items that is simple and difficult to do at the same time. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I've eaten passable, pretty good ramen, but by my count, I've only eaten one bowl of great ramen.

That great bowl was years and years ago when a ramen joint opened near our house. That ramen house have since changed hands twice or three times. It's gone, gone, gone, like the warm toffee cake. I had the shoyu ramen there and it was a revelatory experience. "Simple yet profound," as the oft-repeated phrase goes. The shoyu broth sang and the noodles danced. It was a great bowl of ramen.

The shoyu ramen at Applause was passable-good. I loved the noodles (they were ramen noodles) but the broth seemed a little bland.

Oh, a couple of days ago, we went by Ajisen in Richmond. I ordered the spicy pork ramen. I was quite disappointed with the ramen there: the noodles were more like spaghetti than ramen noodles. Don't know if it's a bad day for them and I don't know if I'll venture there again.

(Some info on & a review of Ajisen here. It's an international chain, apparently.)

I don't really like ramen. I haven't met a bowl of ramen I liked. Yeah, just, please, no ramen for me.

Saba Shioyaki (mackerel) $6.95

I love mackerel. This was good. One really has to try to screw up the great taste of grilled mackerel!

I'm a purist so I thought this grilled mackerel was TOO PEPPERY! It had black pepper! All the previous saba shioyakis I've ever had just had a sprinkling of salt. I thought the pepper distracted me from the fish.

Well, we did grow up during Letty's black pepper regime. So, black pepper is just neutral to me. In fact, I love black pepper!

Overall, I thought the restaurant was better than most Japanese restaurants we've been to, but my Japanese restaurant card is already full. We usually go to Ajisai on West Boulevard and 42nd because they have the best sushi in our 5 km radius.

I wouldn't mind going here again; much better than other places (especially those really inexpensive "Chinese" Japanese restaurants). Although, yeah, Ajisai is one of the few Japanese restaurants I go to, when I actually agree to go to a Japanese restaurant. =) I think I prefer izakaya fare.

(There is a new Starbucks under construction beside Applause. DIABOLICAL!!!)

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