Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant
8660 Bankers Street
8660 Bankers Street
Every now and then I get a real hankering for traditional Japanese cuisine, but being vegetarian severely limits my choices. Having heard good things about Miyoshi, I decided to contact the restaurant to find out what my options were. They responded quickly, stating that the chef would be happy to whip up something special as long as he had advance notice. I made reservations.
On the night my girlfriends and I visited, we were the only non-Asians in the restaurant - a good indicator of authenticity. We ordered drinks and perused the menu. Be aware that a large beer is REALLY large. The single bottle of Kirin I ordered filled my glass several times throughout the meal.
Miyoshi offers both hot and cold appetizers as well as salads. I opted for hiyayakko - chilled, soft tofu served with onion and grated ginger. A lot of folks don't care for tofu if it isn't fried or heavily marinated, but the beauty of this dish is in it's simplicity. The tiny onion slivers and pungent ginger complement the creamy, bland block of tofu beautifully.
Hot appetizers that are vegetarian-friendly include edamame, deep fried tofu, stir-fried veggies, and tempura vegetables. Just be sure to specify that you do not want bonito (mackerel) shavings.
Next up was a sushi course. I chose a veggie roll filled with asparagus, pickled burdock root (yamagobo), avocado and sesame seed, while my friends chose the spider roll (filled with soft shell crab, avocado and smelt roe) and California roll (crab, avocado and smelt roe). We were all slightly freaked out by the spider roll, aptly named because the tiny crabs are deep fried whole and appear to be crawling out of the middle of each roll.
The sole vegetarian entree at Miyoshi is tempura vegetables. While I normally enjoy the lightly battered, deep fried vegetable dish, I wasn't in a deep-fried mood and opted for the chef-suggested sansai zousui - rice gruel with onions and mushrooms in an egg-drop broth. The dish is usually flavored with fish stock, but can be made vegetarian upon request. Very delicately seasoned, this is a truely traditional Japanese option that may not appeal to American tastes, but I found it delightfully rewarding because it brought back long-dormant, fond memories of a dinner many years ago when I was an exchange student at Okayama University.
Lauren opted for the American-friendly Makunouchi Bento Box. This meal of assorted dumplings (shumai), beef asparagus roll, sushi, tempura, and a choice of teriyaki chicken or salmon comes in a lovely laquered box. She said it felt like receiving a delicious birthday present.
Service at Miyoshi is efficient and friendly, and staff are willing to explain the finer points of the menu to first-timers. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and offers dinner from 5:30-10 p.m. They are closed on Sunday.