This is our second visit to Inakaya (you can read about our first visit here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/inakaya/). We had a good time the last visit during NYC Restaurant Week, so we were excited to go back for the second time. We both ordered their Inakaya Course ($70/person) that comes with six course, including a dessert. We started off with couple of cocktails. I ordered Shiro Spritzer ($10), made with Shiro Shochu mixed with Cranberry Juice and Ginger Ale. It was really good, simple drink that was a pleasant surprise. Had nice sweetness to it without being too sweet, strong without being too strong. I really enjoyed it. My hubby ordered Inakaya’s Spiced Ice Tea ($14), made with Lemongrass Shochu mixed with Grated Ginger Lime Juice and Oolong Tea. This one sounded better on the menu than it actually tasted. I felt that the ingredients were not really working well together. It had no sweetness or not much of “tea” flavor that spiced tea is usually made with, since it is made with oolong tea.
The first course was a choice of salad. We both chose Seared Tuna Salad. It was nice and fresh with crisp salad, and it came with four slices of seared tuna sashimi. The sashimi was good, high quality, very fresh, with nice flavor from being marinated. I liked their original dressing, which tasted like sesame dressing. It went great with the tuna and greens.
The second course was a choice of appetizer. I chose Kakuni, which is a Japanese braised pork dish. It came with just one kakuni, but it was a nice size. The pork was cooked to the point it falls apart easily, and melt in your mouth! Packed with flavor and adding a dab of mustard added a nice contrast to the sweet meat.
My hubby chose Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice. We had this at our last visit. My hubby liked this dish more than I did obviously… To me, the rice part is way too crispy and it made them hard to eat. The tuna was good, fresh, and tasty. My husband enjoyed them for the second time.
The third course was a choice of Grilled Vegetable Assortment. Since there were two choices, we each ordered the different one so that we can taste them all. The first choice was Shiitake Mushroom & Asparagus & Japanese Eggplant.
I love Japanese eggplant, for its texture, size and flavor. The eggplant was grilled really well, to the point of it becoming deformed and melt in your mouth. Excellent!
The mushroom and asparagus were really nice too. They were nicely grilled without losing its firm texture. The mushroom was plump and had its natural sweetness to it. The Asparagus still had crunchy texture, very fresh and tasty with just a little bit of salt sprinkled on it.
The second choice was Sweet Potato & Eringi Mushroom & Zucchini. Since my husband really likes sweet potato, so he was happy to get this one. It came with a small block of butter, which was interesting.
Both potato and zucchini were grilled with really well. We put some butter on the sweet potato, and the flavor of soft, fluffy potato with the velvety butter was awesome. It made the potato even more comforting and added depth to the flavor. Zucchini still had crunchy texture on the edges, with its center becoming soft without being mushy.
Mushroom was nice and meaty, firm and very flavorful. We both like mushrooms, and we love the ones that were grilled slowly over charcoal grill.
The fourth course was a choice of Entrée. We both chose the same item on this one, Gindara & US Kobe Beef Skewer. The portion was a bit smaller than I expected, but that is ok, since we were getting six course meal.
The beef was nice and meaty, grilled just the way I like them. It was juicy, tender, and packed with flavor. It didn’t really need any additional sauce or spice, the natural flavor of the beef itself was very tasty.
Gindara, or black cod was really tasty too. Flaky and moist with crunchy skin. I must say that the best black cod I’ve had so far was from Mifune (you can read about it here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/mifune-new-york/ ) but this one was good too.
The fifth course was a choice of Rice & Noodle. My husband and I chose the same dish on this one as well. We both went with Marinated Tuna & Avocado Don.
It was not a big bowl, rather small. We were getting comfortably full, so that was ok. It came with blocks of marinated tuna and small blocks of avocado. They were really fresh, good quality and had really nice flavor. I wish if they had more tuna and avocado on the rice, but if it is quality or quantity, I would always choose quality.
The donburi was served with Miso Soup. It was nothing really special, but much, much better than some other low-quality miso soup or instant miso soup. You can tell that they actually make the miso soup here in the kitchen.
The sixth and the last course was a choice of Dessert. My husband ordered Homemade Pudding. He really likes pudding, and also, he simply has forgotten that we already had their pudding at our last visit. He was still happy with his choice, until he saw my dessert, which was much bigger in portion. LOL. The pudding was nice and creamy, sweet and velvety. I could see the vanilla beans in the custard, which gave wonderful aroma and flavor.
My choice of dessert was Monaka Ice Cream. Compared to the pudding, it was much bigger, and also, it looked more grand and fancy with chocolate drizzled all over. Yes, I shared it with my husband so he would stop looking at my dessert with sad eyes. Monaka Ice Cream is a typical Japanese dessert, their version of ice cream sandwich in a way. The outside crust of the is made of soft wafers, acting as an ice cream cone, but thinner and softer. The inside is filled with vanilla ice cream. between the ice cream and the wafer, there is a layer of chocolate. It has everything I like, all in one, and you get the wafer, ice cream and the chocolate with each bite. Lovely.
We had a nice dinner here, but we felt a bit rushed. From before we got there, we were told on the reminder call that we had one hour and a half since they were busy on that evening with other reservations. Once we arrived, we were told the same thing again by the hostess. When we got seated, we were told the same thing again for the third time by our server. The course menu items came out one after another, without a good resting period for our stomach. Not as relaxing as our first visit. Other than that, the food was good, service was good, and we enjoyed that part of our dinner. The whole rushing part did not really made us want to go back again… Well, not too soon, anyways. When we get the cravings for their food, I am sure we will give them another try.
Inakaya (田舎家) – 231 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018