Additional seating had been incorporated into the space by making minor adjustments to the pick-up area: more artificial pots of shrubbery lined the marble table top immediately adjacent to the food preparation area.
Taro, Sweet Potato, and Red Bean were bound to emit an atrociously synthetic flavour, just as Black Sesame would. I'm unsure why I believed it would fare better than the other variations, but I decided to take my chances instead of going for a second cup of joe.
Although customers were few, quite some time passed before it made its long-awaited appearance on the countertop.
A generous dusting of soybean flour covered its surface, masking the sticky rim and camouflaging the underlying layers of fluffiness. While substantial, the amount was just enough to provide a comforting nutty flavour without inducing gag reflexes.
Injeolmi powder and airy shreds of snow ice were layered alternately in the bowl, just as I had hoped.
The washroom, in sheer contrast, was much larger and cleaner. With the heavy amount of traffic flow in the plaza, one can only hope that such conditions persist as time passes.
This is not to say that dinner was consumed in a cramped, uncomfortable manner. Rather, it was the precise opposite. Tables were sufficiently spaced out, with those along the perimeter separated by barriers for added privacy.
The tables in the middle of the floor had been set aside for wrapping up takeout orders, which, surprisingly, continued until after 9pm.
I genuinely sympathized with him, for I had too been in his position. In spite of the situation he had been thrown into, he maintained a smile towards every single one of our requests and reminders, even making second and third rounds to refill tea cups and ensure that we were content with our orders.
The appetizer arrived shortly after the miso soup and side salad accompanying the Sashimi Dinner made their appearance. As opposed to the golden brown nuggets of fleshiness I had anticipated, the plate was piled high with lanky dark brown pieces resembling deep-fried scraps. I was aghast.
While they did contain meat of sorts on the interior, it is certain that I won't ordering these greasy, odd-looking little things ever again. The accompanying pale yellow dipping sauce - garlic (mustard?) mayo - was tangy and quite fitting of the battered side. Frankly, it was more deserving of praise than the so-called karaage itself.
The yin-yang soy sauce dish was a nice touch.
In concept, the creation was amazing in that it combined traditional tempura and masago with fusion condiments such as smoked garlic mayo. However, the portion of food on the narrow platter was difficult to consume due to the constant toppling of the tomato-tuna medley. The diverse range of ingredients could also be seen as overpowering for some, as it caused the individual flavours to lose distinctness when devoured altogether.
Personally, I rather enjoyed this platter, though would have appreciated it immensely had the tempura bits remained crisp instead of soggy from sauce-soaking.
It was the last item to be delivered, thus stimulating feelings of anticipation with each growing second. When it finally made its way over, I was overcome with both joy and shock.
The sight of the vivid orange spicy mayo caught me off guard first, and next the enormous block of rice utilized to form each rectangular piece.
A great deal of innovation was exerted in the creation of such an expansive menu, though the items are largely hit-or-miss. My personal recommendation is to stick with donburis (the rice was seasoned adequately), attempt one of the Special Rolls if feeling adventurous, and steer clear of the Chicken Karaage at all costs.