Inakaya

I first noticed Inakaya because of a Bloomspot deal that offered Kaiseki courses (7 course meal) for two people for the price of one. I paid $50 for two meals, excluding tax and tip, which I thought was a good deal. We made reservations for an early dinner since we were meeting friends for drinks later on that night. We arrived on time and they seated us right away at the bar, just like we requested.

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Inakaya is a Robata-yaki restaurant, which specializes in fresh and grilled small dishes. The bar wraps around the cooking area, where there are two sushi chefs and four chefs that serve different sections. The special thing about Inakaya is that if you sit by the bar, you get your food handed to you by your server via a wooden paddle.

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We opted to try their signature item, which is a Genshu (undiluted sake) that is served in a Masu, or wooden box ($8.00). We decided to share since it was undiluted and it was just about right for the two of us. You can either pour it into sake cups that they provide for you or you can drink straight from the box. The Genshu is held in a huge drum-like container that the server spoons out with a ladle when it is ordered.

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Our first course, or sakizuke, arrived around the same time as our hot hand towels. It was an assortment of three mini appetizers arranged by the chef. Our assortment included a type of cold grilled fish, a piece of salmon and a snail. Both the snail and the grilled fish were good but the salmon was the best. It was fresh and cooked just the right way.

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Our second course, or tsukuri, was an assortment of three types of sashimi. I tasted a tuna and a yellowtail but didn’t catch the third type of fish. Regardless, all three types of fish were very fresh and I could tell that the fish was good quality.

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Our third course, or yakimono, the grilled course, was handed to us via the wooden paddle as we finished up our sashimi course. Our third course was grilled fish of the day served with mushroom, Okura and egg omelet. The omelet and the mushroom were nicely cooked but the highlight was the Okura and the grilled fish. The fish was served steaming hot and perfectly cooked. The Okura, which we have yet to discover exactly what it is, had a nice texture to it.

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Our fourth course, or mushimono, the steamed couse, was Chawan Mushi or steamed egg custard. I’ve had steamed egg custard before but this one was so much better than any other that I’ve eaten in the past. The steamed egg custard was very smooth – so smooth that I didn’t even have to chew or anything. It slid from the spoon and practically slid down my throat.

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Our fifth course, or agemono, the fried course, was three kinds of tempura. We received shisho peppers, shrimp and crab leg tempura. The shisho pepper wasn’t very spicy at all and the shrimp was very crunchy and crispy. The best piece of tempura, however, was the crab leg, which was tender and soft.

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Our last savory course, or meshimono, the rice course, was an assortment of three types of sushi. Again, there was tuna, yellowtail and another type of fish. Similar to the sashimi, the fish was very fresh and good quality. The sushi chefs put a piece of wasabi inside the sushi, which was a nice surprise. This is just a tip for those that cannot take wasabi – make sure you alert your server beforehand!

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Our last course of the night, or amami, the sweet course, was Green Tea Ice Cream with a Japanese sweet dessert sauce. The sauce featured red beans, jelly and a clear sweet sauce. The ice cream was delicious and this was a perfect way to end the savory meal that we had.

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The service was quick and on point. Our waiter would take away our finished dishes just as our server would pass us food on a wooden paddle. It was nice watching the servers cook the food and pass it to other people sitting by the bar. We never felt rushed and instead, felt like we were finishing just on time. If I ever see another deal for Inakaya, I will definitely snap it up. I think I can see myself returning to Inakaya – but mostly for the steamed egg custard, which was my favorite dish of the night, and the sushi.

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