Planning. Yes, when I head out-of-town, I like to plan out everything so we don't leave anything to chance. Hence, when I saw an Amazon Local coupon for Japonessa, I saw the opportunity to save some money while we were down in Seattle for Black Friday. Since we had been shopping for most of the day, our dinner ended up to be around 9:00pm which was fine as Japonessa's business seemed to pick up as it got later. Yes, the place is definitely a late-night hot spot. Sorta strange I didn't play hockey first before eating here...
Since the ordering was left to me, I made sure we had enough to eat (like I always do...). Appearing larger and rounder than it should be, the Takoyaki were not exactly served hot. Lukewarm and mealy inside, these tasted fine, but were texturally unappealing. I did like the addition of pickled ginger as it brightened up the mild flavors. Furthermore, the minimal amount of mayo and unagi sauce kept things from getting too saucy and wet. Next up, the Kobachi Dumplings were really good. The dumpling skin was tender and thin which meant that the delicate pureed filling wasn't lost. It was fairly sweet, but the savory sauce helped balance things out.
We also got the Soup Udon to share and it was a decent portion of noodles, runny egg, fish cake, king crab, chicken and asparagus. In terms of the ingredients, they were prepared nicely with the crab being fluffy and chicken being sufficiently tender (of which, it wasn't merely boiled, rather it was charred). However, the dashi was too sweet and salty. As much as it wasn't a huge deal, the mold-formed egg was a bit amateurish. Moving onto the plate of Tempura, we found the batter to be too thick where it wasn't too crispy. Beyond the outside layer, the batter was actually dense and gummy. On the other hand, the veggies and ebi were not overcooked.
Looking quite legit, the Ahi Tuna Tartare with balsamic soy vinegar, yuzu citrus allio and served with taro chips was texturally on point with soft, yet not mushy fish. However, it was not diced consistently as there was one really large piece that didn't even appeared to be cut. Flavorwise, it was too sweet where the tuna wasn't even able to be heard. On that note, the Sashimi Salad was a study in what not to do with delicate ingredients. There was so much dressing, that the greens were limp and the fish was overwhelmed. Also the addition of red onion was a mystery as it was far too strong for the ingredients.
We really liked the Hama Kama though as it was charred extensively where the smokiness really came through. Most of the fish was still moist and buttery while purposefully seasoned. For our one Roll, the Orange Crush (snow crab, shibazuke, cucumber, cilantro, topped w/ sockeye and white king salmon drizzled w/ coconut mango glaze) was pretty large with only a minimal amount of rice. We felt the rice was a tad soft and underseasoned though. Yet, the roll was decent with the nice hit of acidity from the pickles. At the end, we were pretty stuff from the shear amount of food. In terms of satisfaction, we were disappointed. Most items were lacking and not prepared with care. Considering the regular prices and inconsistency of the food, it is a complete mystery why the place is rated at 95% on Urbanspoon.
- Attentive service
- Open late
- Decent portions
- Food not prepared carefully
- Below-average eats