The admiration of neighbourhood blossoms had originally been in the plans, though seriously above-seasonal temperatures had caused the desaturation of once-budding shrubbery into wilted, frail sprigs.
As expected of a teppanyaki eatery, the tables and menus were notoriously greasy. A sheen resided atop the black marble surface, while stickiness graced our fingertips upon menu contact. A strong draft was felt overhead, prompting me to retreat back outside for a light jacket to combat chills. Like any open kitchen concept, fumes are inevitable, thus I'd advise against a knit cardigan and instead a jacket of nylon or polyester for odour control and ease of laundering.
The Teppanyaki Set was offered à la carte, allowing guests to choice from one or two proteins, then upgrade from Steamed White Rice to Veggie or Chicken Fried Rice at additional costs of $3.50 and $5.50 respectively. We took to an order of Shrimp with Chicken Fried Rice and Filet Mignon (Steak plus $8) and Scallop with Steamed White Rice.
Condiment trays were also provided at this time: a dark, ponzu-like one for steak and creamy, tangy one for seafood. The second was vaguely reminiscent of Ranch, yet embodied an acidic twist.
A small plate of Karaage were delivered to our neighbours. I glanced over knowingly, for it would appear that preparation of our mains would be subject to their depletion timeline. Stainless steel trays of various meats were slowly brought over and slid into a compartment adjacent to the cooking surface.
Though the proposal did not align with our style, the chef proceeded to chop the broccoli into fine bites and launch the floret projectiles at those that were willing. Three out of five members of our neighbouring party caught the bites on the first try.
Both Chicken Fried Rice and Yakisoba would entail a five-dollar surcharge. Though, I must declare that the upgrade was justified: the bowl I received was scrumptious and even had crispy rice bits weaved throughout!
Shrimp and scallop were added to the grill after a brief delay - reasonable, given that these seafood types cook far quicker given their low-fat, high-protein composition. They are also tricky to execute well, for any amount of overcooking will result in unpalatable toughness.
One order of Shrimp consisted of twelve pieces; two of these beautifully grilled pieces were tasted before reserving appetite for subsequent spoonfuls of Chicken Fried Rice.
The incorporation of monosodium glutamate was undeniable, for both of us were extremely parched afterwards. Seasonings had been adequate, however the feeling of constant dehydration was hardly desirable.
Standing up to inspect my surroundings, I found myself to reek of cooking fumes. Thankfully we had not been seated in the sports bar area, which was even fumier to the point where hazy tufts of smoke could be seen from afar. At the far end of the restaurant, beyond two private dining areas, were the washroom facilities. Once inside, one could perceive a damp, eerie vibe, like a casual Chinese diner subject to neglect.
A request for takeout boxes was met with the waitress grabbing two boxes from our neighbour's section of the table and handing them over to me with a smile. I gazed at her, both shocked and dumbfounded at the despicable gesture she had found all-too-natural.
"Oh, I brought more in case." She responded matter-of-factly, as if I would gleefully gush over another diner's unused leftovers. I took the boxes anyway, for it is futile to reason in the absence of social awareness.
The act led me to ponder: "Well, why not just give us a new set of boxes altogether?" We were no less paying customers, but treated with exceeding disrespect. "Had it not occurred that giving one party's unused gear to another was extremely rude just to save yourself the trip?"
We gave the boxes a quick wipe, for who knows whether they had come in contact with coughing or greasy digits. As I was stacking the boxes to go, a manager-like authority emerged with a plastic bag, though we had already requested and received one. It was yet another indication that quick turnovers were urged in the face of steep bills and seriously subpar - no, atrocious - service.