CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Shogun: Japanese Fine Dining has a New Address (Restaurant Closed)
Shogun Beirut: Just Perfect! (Restaurant Closed)
I was back in less than a month, back to a place I fell in love with, a Japanese restaurant in the heart of Beirut overlooking the downtown central district, I was back to enjoy the experience this time without having to write so much. As I'd been here recently, I believe you don't want to read another review in less than a week.
Well lit, overstaffed, a smile on their faces, a pleasant decor, Shogun is this new fine dining Japanese restaurant that's a bit pricey, but surely gives back in return.
Tonight was beer night; Sapporo premium beer, Japan's oldest brand. Take your time and enjoy the decor. On this busy Saturday night, everyone was happy to be here, under the lights of the middle rolling bar and the white ceiling. On the right, I was enjoying he lights of Le Gray's bar while I noticed the red lanterns of the tables behind the bar.
Dana was appointed to us. How professional, this woman is simply incredible. She even noticed that my wife was searching for a place to put her handbag, so she discretely asked for a chair only for the bag.
Edamame to start, some crunchy well cooked and warm edamame, topped with salt while the order was being prepared. I couldn't but focus again on the set of cutlery and tables. A large square plate, another rectangular one on top, a set of chopsticks, a fork and knife, a glass container for the soy sauce, a glass for the water.
Food was ready:
- Crispy salmon salad. A good quality salmon, fresh crisps and a hint of spiciness to leave a long lasting note.
- The Shogun salad is so simple but so good. Crab sticks mixed with shredded cucumbers and tobiko balls. I loved the light mayo dressing.
- Tataki salmon: Fresh, thickly cut salmon pieces lightly cooked on the edges and raw in the middle soaked in a juicy, lemony sauce. Superb is the least that can be said.
- The seafood and vegetable tempura are both a recommendation. Oil-free, a clear color, a fresh look and an amazing taste. You'll fall in love with the colors of the vegetables and their crunch as well as the juiciness of the seafood. Best for last, the tempura ginger: incredible.
- Beef skewers: Juicy like tomatoes, flavorful like honey, aromatic like flowers. A moist and tender meat with a cranberry taste before moving to the maki rolls.
- The maki rolls could have even better and surely were last time. They were dry, the rice undercooked and lacking moisture and juiciness. I personally eat my role without soy sauce, immediately catching the ingredients and the rolls composition; tonight's were a bit deceiving.
- Afterwards came the tepenyaki selection. The Australian beef and its tender feel and flavorful heart, the chicken skewers and their sweet sauce as well as a selection of pan fried vegetables. A great way to end our meal... While Dana continued on taking care of us in a majestic and professional way.
Since dessert are still not fixed and last time's experience was not up to standard, we skipped this part but were offered by Dana a Japanese innovation newly introduced to our country "the mochi cream". We all know the Mochi ice cream which is a rice paste envelope filled with ice cream frozen to the degree that you won't feel anything other than the sweetness. Those are different, since they're cold, not frozen, you feel their gooey texture, their taste and filling. They are set in a box, like a tea box filled with 12 portions distinct one from the other. You are asked to pick your flavors by hand. It's bizarre and new so, don't judge too quickly. The texture is bizarre, the taste even more... Anyway I'm not a fan.
Mochi ice cream followed. Those are good, really good and one of the first I've had in town. The rice paste is not too chewy and the ice cream filling is flavorful and not too sweet. You can choose one of seven flavors, large pieces a whole table can taste and enjoy. Finally, I found a dessert I can order on my third visit.
- The food is tasty, well presented and fresh.
- The waitresses' clothes take you on a journey to Japan.
The minuses and things that must change:
- The rolls tonight weren't up to standard.
- I can't stand and don't accept the ugly green plastic separators, especially in a restaurant where the average cheque is a hundred dollars.
- Three managers on duty, I believe they should be wearing a blazer over their stylish shirt.
- With the bill, I believe a pen that fits this place should be used, not the cheap plastic BIC ones.
- Valet parking is LBP10,000, clearly written on the ticket.
We were six, we ordered all of the above, which you can see in the photo gallery, we didn't order wine but simply two beer bottles and paid only $300. That's $50/person, a positively shocking price-tag after last time's experience and what people say about Shogun.
Second time, second enjoyment, second recommendation.