Date # 62: Izakaya Nihonbashitei
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Resting on one corner of Pasay Road is a spacious, but unassuming restaurant called Izakaya Nihonbashitei. The establishment houses two floors, the first floor having the usual effects of a sushi bar, and the second floor being the appropriate venue for Japanese teppanyaki fests. It is the kind of establishment that attracts even Japanese locals, a clear sign of a promising Japanese restaurant.
It was my first time coming here, although Douglas has eaten here a couple of times before. He has always told me that the place promises to serve reasonably priced Japanese meals that are of good quality.
We ordered two pieces of Salmon Sushi (P159.99), to satiate our ever present sushi craving. The salmon sushi was served to us together with our order of Uni Sushi (P159.99). Both of the sushi orders were very much worth their price—they were succulent, fresh and expertly prepared. They did not disintegrate even with my flimsy control of chopsticks. It’s also important to take note that the Uni was probably one of the best I’ve had so far, devoid of the strange aftertaste that’s common in less reputable sushi places.
The highlight of our meal was the Toro Spicy Maki (P200). Don’t let the name fool you—the rolls only make use of the usual lean maguro (tuna) slices rather than the fatty toro (tuna belly) ones. But the staff had explained that to us before we placed our orders, so no offense taken there.
The Toro Spicy rolls were huge—I had hoped to eat everything in one bite, but my mouth could only take in half of the top part in one go. It had a spicy kick that I suspect came from cayenne, plus crunchy bits that added some excitement in texture. The flavor was unforgettable—not too spicy, not too mild; sweet from the sauce, and yet salty from the fish. It was something I’d go back here for, despite how far Nihonbashitei is to where I live.
The pieces of Special Kakiage Tempura (P270) were huge—and I mean huge. They were bigger than both my hands clasped together. Each piece was comprised of fried onions, squid, tiny shrimps, all held together by crunchy tempura batter, and finally served with the usual sweet tempura sauce.
It had different layers of flavor due to the variety of ingredients, although overall the dish wasn’t particularly a stand out. It was also difficult dipping it into the sauce without some parts of the kakiage splitting from the rest.
For his main dish, Douglas got bowl of Marbu Nasu (P220), which was served with a cup of Japanese rice and a hot bowl of miso soup. Marbu Nasu is essentially an eggplant stew with bits of ground pork, topped with spring onions.
Douglas commented that the stew had the right consistency, although he would have preferred it if it had been more flavorful and had more pieces of eggplant.
I, on the other hand, had a bowl of Miso Ramen (P260), served with onigiri on the side. The bowl was overflowing with various ingredients—carrots, bean sprouts, onions, ground pork, cabbage, ramen noodles, all floating on piping hot, miso-based soup.
You can imagine the taste being a bit bittersweet, since the flavor primarily comes from the miso. Although I found the bowl worth its price because it was extremely large and filling, I thought that the bits of ground pork lacked flavor, and were a bit overcooked. I can say the same for the noodles, since I prefer my noodles bouncy, and with a good, firm bite.
Overall Verdict: Although the lunch had its lowlights,we were still pretty happy with our Nihonbashitei visit. Maybe next time we’ll try their teppanyaki specials, but we’re still more excited to gorge on their sushi again.
We’re a bit sad that Nihonbashitei is hugely underrated, maybe because it’s surrounded by a lot of other reputable restaurants, but if you happen to pass by it, don’t hesitate to give it a go.
Nihonbashi Tei, Arnaiz Ave.
806 Arnaiz Ave., Pasay Rd.
Makati City, Metro Manila
With and For Love,
Rina Caparras and Douglas Chong
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