Lucy Rest, Ottawa Xpress
Published: July 6, 2006
THE TALE OF GENJI
How's this for some masterful stealth marketing?
A certain Andrew Brown wrote duplicate glowing reviews of Genji on restaurantthing.com and chowhound.com, stating: "I never see such design... I have never found such taste in Ottawa." This was before the restaurant had even officially opened, yet he kindly included business hours. Then there was Goodie's post: "This is my first time writing review. I don't know what the format should be. However, I promoised [sic] the waitress to write my experience at Genji."
Nice, guys. Very subtle.
Self-promo aside, both the sign in front of the Japanese resto (the one that isn't peeling) and the brown and white décor are indeed really nice. I like the tabletops, the banquettes and the lotus-shaped white swag lamps too. But why stop there? How about replacing the cubicle-issue carpet with some cheap-yet-chic laminate?
Never mind, I'm too excited by the Asahi Black (a delicious and hard-to-come-by dark lager) on the menu to be annoyed. After small bowls of complimentary edamame we begin with some perfectly acceptable miso soup. Then a fresh, crisp salad in creamy ginger dressing, delicious even if it's made of much-maligned iceberg lettuce (what do you want, mâche?).
Our dining companions are doing a set-menu thing, the most cost-effective option, especially considering the eight-course tasting menu at an already reasonable $30 is really enough food for two.
But Slinky and I don't want to be constrained, deciding instead to order an airy-fairy assortment of everything that interests us on the very long menu.
Like nasu dengaku: deep-fried eggplant in a smoky-sweet sauce of miso, mirin, sake and sugar that collapses on your spoon, dissolves in your mouth, teasing without filling.
For the traditional perspective, we try two ultra-fresh nigiris: buttery soft, delicately flavoured escolar and tasty marinated mackerel.
For the not-so-traditional, there's the decadent "stampede" roll: a thin 4.5-ounce AAA steak, ever so lightly seared and wound around a maki stuffed with asparagus and avocado. Absurdly good.
After that we need some palate-cleansing kyu maki: marinated tofu, ginger and avocado wrapped in thin sheets of cucumber with a light ponzu dipping sauce.
In all honesty, the meal could have stopped here. Slinky's unaju (barbecue eel, perfectly done, atop a bowl of rice) is good, but he can barely finish it.
I still have room for my saikyo yaki. Who wouldn't make room for this sweet and tender black cod (which is not cod at all, but sablefish) marinated in white miso and mirin, cooked perfectly and presented artfully on a stack of seasonal veg?
As I tuck in, A.T. marvels at my appetite - which was almost destroyed when some very stinky people are seated next to us. (Here's a tip: When it's 30 degrees out, you probably do need to take another shower.) Luckily, my olfactory system becomes so saturated with the pong that I'm able to block it out after a very unpleasant 10 minutes. (Another tip: Don't seat stinkies next to innocent diners when the dining room is half empty!)
I make yet more room for a few bites of dessert - crispy, sweet banana tempura - and then we've got to call it a night.
My 100 per cent genuine assessment? I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Click here to view the original article at OttawaXpress.
Genji Japanese Restaurant
"A taste of Japan in the heart of Canada’s capital region"
Traditional With a Twist
Genji Japanese Restaurant in downtown Ottawa prides itself on its quality and expertise. The chefs hail from the well-known Toronto sushi eatery Edo, and they insist on flying in their fresh fish. The restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine like teriyaki and sashimi but also a variety of new inventions. Its signature creation, the Boston roll, is a combination of Boston lettuce, shrimp, Alaskan king crab, avocado and spicy sauce.
The open dining area of the restaurant seats 54, including its sushi bar, where you can sit and enjoy watching the sushi chefs create your meal. As well as many seafood and meat choices, there is a variety of vegetarian and tofu dishes on the menu. They also serve the very popular but not-so-traditional sushi pizza, a combination of seafood delights presented like a pizza on a bed of fried rice. For the Japanese food enthusiast, this is a must-visit location in Ottawa.
Great Dining; Greater Choices
The restaurant features modern décor with a few semi-private Japanese-style booths for your more covert dinner dates. You can make dining at Genji the ultimate Japanese experience with the large menu selection. They also have set menu dinners which have five courses including soup, salad and ice cream for dessert. The menu also has a wide variety of beer, wine and liquor, but Genji specializes in a variety of cold sakes, the traditional Japanese rice wine.
Click here to view the original post at OttawaPlus.ca