April 21, 2015

Shogun: Japanese Fine Dining has a New Address

Non-smokers friendly

Shogun Shogun
4.3 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:86/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 7/10

Ambiance / Music: 9/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 28/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: 7/10

The talk of town today is Shogun, a new restaurant which opened on the 8th floor of AnNahar building in downtown Beirut. It was time to try to try it out. In place of where Eight used to be, the guys from Add-Mind introduces a whole new Japanese experience to Beirut.

shogun-japanese-restaurant-downtown-beirut72015-04-21-11-15-55

Shogun is overwhelming, a high-end place oozing class and style. Open the elevator on the eighth floor and access the restaurant immediately. Continue to the right where the restaurant is located. A large space filled with black and white wood. An extensive bar occupies the left side where one can have dinner as well as a long list of Saki drinks among others... the dinning area in the middle enjoys a beautiful view of the city...  

The place's little details, and they are many:

  • The floor is all covered with real wood parquet.
  • A drinks bar occupies the right side on higher level and is separated from the main restaurant by a decorative fence.
  • The right side deal is covered with half a dozen lit wine coolers.
  • The tables are big, and are too thick, leaving space in the middle, but making it a bit unpleasant to talk with one another. 
  • Relaxing chairs surround the square tables and are covered with grey fabrics.
  • The rectangular tables are large and divided in the middle with a centerpiece of stones and plants.
  • The ceiling, white in some places and black in others, is decorated with white and pink Japanese flowers.
  • The bar is surrounded by high chairs, huge high chairs which are relaxing for sure, but a bit scary.
  • Light music plays in the background, without heavy bass; relaxing.
  • The place settings are done in advance, with a large rectangular plate, and another rectangular one on top, black placemats, chopsticks, a fork and knife as well as a glass of water and a glass cup of soy sauce with a fine table napkin.

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The 7-page menu:

  • Soups
  • Starters
  • Tempura
  • Kome
  • Salads
  • Crunchy salads
  • Sashimi
  • Sashimi Medley
  • Nigiri Sushi
  • Donburi Sushi (rice bowl dish with toppings and miso soup)
  • Makimono (bamboo mat rolls)
  • Temaki rolls
  • Boats on sail
  • Teppenyaki/Misono
  • Robatayaki (charcoal grill)
  • Set course on the grill 
  • Desserts 

Menu notes:

  • A: upon availability
  • S: spicy
  • V: vegetarian 
  • Be creative and order your own temaki filling

shogun-japanese-restaurant-downtown-beirut302015-04-21-11-17-11

The food is succulent:

  • Crispy salmon salad is served in a bowl, a generous portion that isn’t served on cabbage and comes without any decorative plastic, but simply cubes of fresh salmon covered with crispy crisps and a light sauce. I loved their texture, taste and after notes of light spiciness. 
  • Tataki Salmon: A round plate topped with a dozen slices of tataki salmon separated with thin slices of lemon. The mixture of salmon and lemon combined is excellent and it all bathes in a lemony juice. A plate with finesse, style and surely flavor.
  • Shrimps tempura: Four portions served in a rectangular plate, fried but not oily, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, ready to amaze. Dip in and enjoy.
  • Hamashi: A must order, the freshness of the fish, the crispness and taste of thinly sliced lemons and the salty, long lasting aftertaste. Really, the finesse of the plates is unmatched.

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Before going further allow me to salute the staff. Even though over staffed in my opinion, the ladies are amazing and have a constant smile on their faces, attentive to the smallest detail, the service is something I respect. It's rarely witnessed in our country.

  • And then came the maki plate. A large round plate beautifully set and covered with maki and sashimi. The dish was appropriately warm, the rice lightly crunchy, the fish fresh, the flavors correct, the overall experience was memorable.

Ask for Dana, the waitress, the professional Dana, one of the most professional waiters I've ever seen in the country. She is excellent, and speaks Japanese as well. She feels what you order, she suggests, and can ask the chef to fine tune food according the way you eat. She is impressive!

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  • Temaki followed. You can choose between two sizes, the small and big and I believe this is a premiere. A crunchy nori leaf, a little rice and some fresh crunchy samon skin without any sauce or sweetness. I'm in love!
  • Tepenyaki is a must try. Australian beef, tender and melting like butter. The Kobe beef is breathtaking! No way that there’s another meat that's as tender and as flavorful as this unique piece of wonder. Tasting Kobe beef is like eating Caviar. The tenderness, the softness, the taste and the color... A dream come true.
  • Grilled vegetables, a mix of mushrooms, zucchini and love.
  • Black tiger shrimp,they were supposed to be impressive but are nothing to write home about. A hard texture, chewy and overcooked.

Overall, the food is exquisite; I officially have a new favorite sushi place.

We were offered dessert... Deceiving!

  • The coconut and strawberry cake looks good, badly presented and the strawberries are too cold, they’re crunchy and icy and the cake tastes neutral. The cake really tastes dull. Bizarre.
  • Tiramisu: The first bite to test, the second to feel the flavor... The third is not worth your time. Acceptable, but nothing exceptional about it. Dinner was so good for a dessert that neutral and deceiving.
  • Even the ice cream, provided by Oslo, had a feel of clinging ice.

shogun-japanese-restaurant-downtown-beirut542015-04-21-11-18-27

The good:

  • Smoking is only allowed at the bar area...The air is pure and clean.
  • The food is tasty.
  • The service is very good.
  • The lights are appropriate and decor is catchy.
  • The rolls contain a bit of rice and a load of fish.
  • The lights are tuned down at 10:15and music is boosted a bit up, transforming the ambiance.

The minuses:

  • Some of the plates could be colder.
  • When it's spicy, the spiciness should be felt more.
  • Desserts are bad and have to be worked on... A lot.

I'm not sure why, but opinions about Shogun are split. Some loved it, others literally hated it... I personally fell in love with it. Maybe the second visit will confirm this feeling. I invite you to try it and give us our opinion.




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