THE QUIET DINER
Uncommon curry in a Japanese resto
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We were prepared for sushi and tempura, among others, but one member of the group opted for Chicken Curry, a rather uncommon offering in a Japanese restaurant. And she was pleased.
Meaning “thank you, friend”; Solenad at Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna; tel. 3026307/502-8528
The place is comparatively small, seating not more than 30 diners. It is one of the many eating places in the area and on weekends it gets really full.
Dining area—Done in light beige with a number of Japanese hanging lamps in eggshell white. Tables are movable, thus big groups can readily be accommodated. The mirror-walls give the illusion of space. The bar/counter is at the end of the dining area.
Service—There is considerable waiting time. Aperitifs such as dilis and pickled veggies, usually available in a Japanese restaurant, were not offered. Instead the menu is handed quickly to the diner.
Staff—Each staffer has a harried look. Their movements, mostly in tiny steps, typical of the Japanese, are airy but light. They are fast at rearranging and clearing tables and chairs. They wore black tees and denim pants. One server looked like he had not changed in two days at least. We were lucky he was not our attending waiter.
Suggested orders—We started with the big chunks of California Maki, then proceeded with the Shake (pronounced sya-ke), Grilled Salmon Belly with Ponsu Dip, very excellent as it melted in the mouth.
We paired this with Japanese Fried Rice, the best we had ever. It was moist with tiny bits of shrimps, very flavorful. Said to be a favorite of diners was the Gindara Teriyaki, which costs quite a sum. The rest of us ordered our fave dishes—Unagi Kabayaki, Tonkatsu, Katsudon and Tempura, of jumbo-size prawns.
Then, yes, we ordered the Chicken Curry, properly done with the chili “kick,” but without the usual mango chutney (satisfying, anyway). We capped the dinner with scoops of ice cream.
Service and government charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.
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