Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lunching @ Izakaya Sakura - Oyaji Dishes

Yet a few more lunch meals I wanted to share from Izakaya Sakura. Again probably with more images than necessary but this was always meant to be a hybrid photo-blog of sorts so please bear with me.. :)

I sort of made up the term Oyaji ("old man") Dishes.. This naming has mostly to do with how I personally find the meals old school (classic?) in nature. A few you don't see offered often if ever, especially on lunch menus. But I'm also using the naming Oyaji in the slang sense to express a mood or state that anyone at any age can feel once in a while. Grumpy, tired, or a little under the weather? So to give my body a chance to become like some actual seniors from back home who can probably out pace me on a track field..(!) A few dishes I've had when I felt the need to cut down on that sodium and saturated fat intake..

The first few will help boost Omega-3's. I found out this essential oil might help elevate a person's mood which is nice, but I also find I am simply less irritable after any meal when I'm full so for whatever it's worth, ha.



The Buri Daikon ($8) is a traditional Yellowtail and Daikon radish simmer. Lightly sweet with the flavor of soy sauce and ginger. Sometimes the broth is reduced to almost a light glaze.



Much of the bitterness of the daikon is gone but enough left to balance out the nice fatty acids from the fish. The photo taken is almost three years old. Maybe I'll order this again tomorrow.

Had the Saba no Shioyaki as a Teishoku lunch set ($8) more recently where I only had it as appetizers in the past. The two salt seasoned grilled mackerel pieces were a nice size - near the head and tail portions (together a side of a fillet).



Couldn't spend too much time for pretty pictures here! :) Perfectly grilled, the skin crackled open like a fresh puff pastry.



The belly which I went straight for revealed the extremely moist flesh full of the fish's essential oils.



The tail portion was a bit firmer as I would expect but all seasoned nicely with the perfect amount of salt. The grated daikon radish a wonderful pairing.



The grilled Saury (Sanma no Shioyaki, $8) is less oily and very smokey in flavor. I talked about it in some length when introducing the simmered Nitsuke version on this post.



Again I'll repeat that as much as I would crave a nice grilled Sanma once in a while, the smoky flavor as well as its bitter Wata (its guts left for the occasional Sanma connoisseur) would make me rank this fish at an intermediate level for the dining curious.



Though not listed I was successful in ordering it as a side if one may be so compelled to try it (with a few interested others?) but for me the company of rice and soup is almost a necessity.

Had the Yasai-itame (stir-fried vegetables, $8) just yesterday.



A light soy sauce (and maybe a little butter) stir-fry with cabbage, bean sprouts, onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, a few snow peas and some pork. Nothing I couldn't make at home but an affordable good-for-the-body sustenance that I was after and one that will also get me back in the office in a half-hour. Mission accomplished.



The Miso Soup this day was particularly good..



A stronger than usual dashi with every ingredient also tasting more vibrant. The signature two large tofu cubes were also the silken Kinugoshi rather than the medium Momen I typically find here. Seems to depend on the person who is in charge of the batch. :)

The Mekabu Natto Yama-imo Iri appetizer (Mekabu Seaweed with Natto and Grated Mountain Yam, $5) is a trio of slimey goodness. I order it by simply saying Mekabu Natto.. Anyway as long as I've been eating Mekabu, I just found out it is from the thicker portion of the Wakame seaweed that is closer to the roots. I learn something everyday..



Sliced fine with a nice crunchy texture (on top of the sliminess) and a mild sweet seaweed flavor, the Mekabu seems to come lightly seasoned in tsuyu. It is then partnered with some grated Yama-imo mountain yam (sometimes also called Tororo-imo ) and the fermented (hikiwari split) Natto beans that most know about.



If I'm not done by the time my lunch main comes I then add a drizzle of soy sauce to help with that rice craving potency..



What prevents me in having it more often is the higher price for a side but I've had this quite a few times.



Ok, I think I shared enough of the Mekabu Natto.. The Saba Misoni is another Mackerel dish I like to order as a side ($3.50). A nice deep Miso simmer with additional flavor of ginger and green onions.



Again, great over my rice (when no one is looking?).. Which then the teishoku set would be sure to hit the spot ($8).



I've had the Tonjiru side only once ($5).




A heartier Miso Soup with chunks of pork, tofu, and vegetables (daikon, potatoes, onions, carrots). I particularly enjoy it with a good shake of shichimi peppers.

The Jyaga Tamago (Potato and Egg, $7.50) is my token not offered anymore dish for this post.



This was extremely mild in flavor, basically like an Oden. Love the way the Daikon was cut to help keep its shape during the long simmer.




I'm not exactly sure why I consider the Tensoba (Soba with Tempura, $8) an Oyaji Meal.. Maybe it's because I can easily picture Japanese businessmen order one up on a hot and humid mid-summer day. Nothing really makes it a healthier alternative than others on the menu but I felt like including it anyway.



As much as I like the broth here all in all a pretty standard bowl with maybe the portion being its biggest attraction. You get two nice pieces of shrimp with additional of veggies.



You can ask for the tempura on the side if you like to keep it from going soggy. Also comes with an Omusubi rice ball. Filling is usually Salmon from my experience.

And.. that's it. Still lots of carbs but much healthier than some other options.



Like Panko-fried Bechamel Sauce? Come to think, this is borderline County Fair Food! But so guilty good.. ;)

Izakaya Sakura, 3904 Convoy St #121, San Diego, CA 92111

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