RESTAURANT REVIEW: Takaoka of Japan

A chef prepares meals at Takaoka of Japan.

A chef prepares meals at Takaoka of Japan.

When you walk into Takaoka you will hear the sizzling sound of meat and vegetables being grilled and will be enveloped by an intoxicating aroma that will make you hungry instantly.

Takaoka of Japan is a part of the Hall’s family of restaurants. It’s located in the upstairs of the historic Gas House restaurant on East Superior Street.

Seating is communal around the grill at Takaoka and because of that I made a new young friend, Janessa. We chatted about how to use chopsticks and it was great fun to see her reaction to the tricks performed by our chef.

Speaking of the chef, he was quite entertaining and had a good sense of humor. He joked that the ginger sauce was made fresh … from the Maumee River. He paid special attention to young diners at our table. He juggled and spinned spatulas and was a master at quickly chopping vegetables. He also performed another crowd favorite; setting the tower of onions on fire.

Takaoka’s clear soup was flavorful and very hot. Wafer-thin mushrooms and the tops of green onions floated on top of the steaming bowl. It was a generous portion compared to other Japanese restaurants I’ve dined at.

As much as I enjoyed the soup, I wasn’t as keen about the salad. I liked the tangy dressing, but the lettuce was bitter and I couldn’t eat it.

We were served a delicious grilled shrimp appetizer with “Maumee River” ginger sauce. These tasty gems were the warm up for a delicious meal.

I watched my scallops dance on the hot grill, and I didn’t have to wait long before my scallops Tepan dinner was served. Steamed rice, grilled zucchini, yellow squash, bean sprouts and onions rounded out my meal. The scallops were excellent. They were rich, buttery and sweet. The hibachi grilled vegetables were cooked properly – not to crisp and not soggy.

My friend chose the Oishi Teishoku dinner – chicken and filet mignon. The chicken was tasty, but the steak was the star of her dinner. I agreed, after having a taste. It was so tender that it melted in my mouth and the seasoning was perfect. She also thought that the vegetables were especially good.

Takaoka’s staff was very attentive with drink refills and cleared away dishes promptly. After sipping hot tea at the end of the meal, we were very full and content.

If you dine at Takaoka on your birthday, you can enjoy a cup of ice cream topped with a sparkler. (This is very dramatic, since the dining room is very dark.)

Eating at Takaoka is a unique dining experience with wonderful people watching, lots of smiles and great food. And like me, you might just make a new friend.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Laura Weston at fortwayne.com or call her at 461-8468.

• TAKAOKA OF JAPAN

Where: 301 E. Superior Street

Phone: 424-3183

Hours: 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (last seating) Monday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. (last seating) Friday; 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m.(last seating) Saturday; noon-8 p.m. (last seating) Sunday

Website: www.donhalls.com/takaoka/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TakaokaFW/

• MENU SAMPLER

Chicken hibachi: $19.95

Japanese stir fry: $20.95

Teriyaki salmon: $21.95

Steak Takaoka: $22.95

Scallops Tepan: $23.95

Lobster Samurai: $38.95

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