It wasn't until recently that I received such an opportunity; though the free fries deal had long expired, it did not deter my decision to pay a visit.
(Side note: "Aka" is Japanese for the colour "red", thus making it appropriate for the restaurant to have a subtle, recurring dark red theme.)
The bathroom is interestingly enough: it has four individual stalls (two per gender) and a general hand-washing area with four faucets. The hand towels were composed from a thick material with high absorption properties; the area was also well-lit. While awkwardness between guests may be inevitable in such circumstances, the design provides a great solution for small spaces.
The Bloor location also utilizes a differently-formatted menu with the addition of a few new items (such as Hokkaido Milk Hotpot). Their Grand Opening lunch special allowed for up to a maximum of two side dishes, a drink, or a dessert to be selected at a measly cost of 99 cents per side order.
The Grilled Chicken Teppan-Yaki Rice and Salmon Tataki Salad were ordered, with sides of Fried Pork Dumplings, and Roasted Milk Green Tea. While not a free item, an order of Okonomiyaki Fries was also added.
The full album can be found HERE !
The Fried Pork Dumplings had a rather thick wrapper; it was crunchy without being oily, and flavourful without being overly salty. For only 99 cents, this side order of great dumplings put many others to shame.
And because I was preparing for the worst, I wound up being delightfully surprised. The Okonomiyaki Fries were great! While a tad greasier than I would have preferred, the fries were exceptionally crispy, despite being drenched in mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce, and further topped with nori (seaweed) strips and bonito flakes. They hadn't been stingy either - the bowl was large enough to share between three or four people! ($6.99 would have been a tad pricey for two, otherwise.)
While meat is generally only charred lightly before it is placed onto the hot plate and served to customers, the chicken had evidently been grilled once beforehand.
In Markham, it was customary to allow the customers to mix in the ingredients by themselves. However, our waiter hovered by our table attentively, clearly prepared to mix the rice for us, as he would later assist other customers. I am unsure as to why there is such a difference, though I must commend management for this extra attention to detail and enhanced customer service.
The Green Tea Parfait, served in a tall, ribbed cup, used sweetened corn flakes (Frosted Flakes??) as a base. It consisted of two generous scoops of green tea ice cream, a spoonful of sweet azuki bean paste, a squirt of whipped cream topped with crushed chocolate wafers, a few slices of strawberries, and two sticks of green tea Pocky to finish.
The main problem that I tend to encounter with corn flakes-based parfaits is the level of difficulty in mixing the creation together for consumption. However, I did not have such concerns with this particular parfait from Aka Teppan; the ice cream had managed to soften the corn flakes just enough that mixing the components did not result in any toppings falling out of the cup. Had I not been so full, I may have been able to finish the entire order.
Next time, I shall be returning to try their unique Hokkaido Milk Hot Pot!
(Shoutout to our super-friendly Otani Ryohei-like waiter for making our lunch a great experience!)