Pillars of Fire at Shiro
Local Japanese restaurant provides an entertaining evening
Hibachi restaurants provide guests with exciting dining experiences in which pillars of flames spouting up from the table are a norm. This week I visited Shiro to see if their hibachi measured up to their competition.
As is standard at such restaurants, my meal came with a bowl of soup and a small salad. The soup was a warm, peppery onion broth with green onions and paper-thin slices of mushroom.
The salad was served with a sweet ginger dressing that had a nutty sesame flavor to balance it. The depth of the dressing's flavor complimented the light flavor of the lettuce. Both the salad and the soup were a pleasing way to start the meal.
As I was finishing my salad, my Sashimi ($10) appetizer arrived. Three slices each of salmon, tuna, and red snapper were elegantly displayed with small portions of lemon, ginger, and mild wasabi.
The texture of the salmon was somewhat mushy. It had the classically fatty flavor of salmon but was a little fishier than it should have been. It was edible but not great. The red snapper was a little better, but it was still mushy, and the tuna was almost tasteless.
I was glad when the hibachi chef arrived to prepare our food. He began with basic tricks, spinning cooking utensils around his fingers and tossing eggs up in the air. His best trick came after lighting a volcano of sliced onions on fire, when he touched the fiery grill and lifted his flaming finger into the air as if it were no big deal.
As he continued to cook, the chef talked and joked with myself and the other customers at our communal table. Every few minutes a new component of our food was prepared and served. The first to be served was the Fried Rice ($2.50). Unfortunately it was very bland. The primary flavor component was supposed to come from the "Yummy Sauce" that had been mixed in, but a later taste of the yummy sauce revealed that it was little more than yellow-tinted mayonnaise.
Next to be served were the mixed vegetables, which included zucchini, carrots, and onions. The zucchini and carrots were cooked until tender, which had allowed their flavors to develop with their textures. Most of the onions, though, were still raw.
Soon the shrimp was ready. Every person at the table received two pieces of shrimp, regardless of their entrée choice. The shrimp were very enjoyable. They were very simply seasoned to allow the grilled shrimp flavor to be the star of the dish.
My Hibachi Chicken ($15.95) was similarly prepared. It had been chopped into bite sized pieces, each of which was caramelized on the outside and tender inside. It was a mildly salty, with lemon and grilled chicken as the predominant flavors. It was very tasty.
Overall, I felt that the meal was good, but I recommend skipping the raw fish.
Shiro Japanese Steak House
9276 Old Keene Mill Road
Burke, Virginia 22015
This will be the last of Beverly Scholnick's reviews, as she is moving away from the area. Three cheers for her excellent restaurant reviews! You can check them all out over here.