A Return to Biwa

Last year Wifey and I hit up Biwa, the Japanese izakaya on the east side next to Simpatica, and had a fantastic meal. Last week we made a return and brought the camera.

Along with a green tea for Wifey and something called a "Sapporo Deluxe" (Sapporo beer with lemon and lime - and wasn't bad at all) for me, this is what we ordered off the dinner menu. All pictures were done by Wifey, who kicks food picture taking ass.

The first dish is called kara-age.

It's essentially Japanese-style fried chicken, but with a generous helping of salt and served with a side of hot mustard sauce. And when it says hot, believe it - that stuff is dangerous.

The interesting thing about this dish is it looks dry, but you bite into it and the meat inside is still extremely moist. The saltiness wasn't too much either, on it's own - highly recommend.

The second dish is called korokke.

It's croquettes, if you have had those before, but stuffed with curried pork and potato and comes with a side of tonkatsu sauce. Crack it open and this is what you see.

Very, very nice. Well-balanced flavors, with a crunch crust. Another highly recommend.

The next dish is grilled pork belly.

Sadly, I was really looking forward to this one bit it fell a little flat - it's not the same pork belly dish from our first trip. It was well cooked, but it seemed to need a litle something...else. Not sure what, just something. At this point the saltiness was really starting to add up - which is probably just poor planning on my part.

Our last dish for dinner was the bacon chahan, which is fried rice with various veggies, some ground pork, and chunks of pork belly.

This was okay - it was unexpectedly spicy, which really threw me off in a fried rice dish. The presentation was fantastic and it tasted good, but we probably wouldn't order it again.

At this point we were stuffed, but while our server boxed up the extra fried rice we said what the heck and ordered some of their spectacular gryoza to take home with us too.

Good thing we did - this may be the single best thing on the menu (not that we've tried everything). Perfect little dumplings of goodness. We made a resolution that from now on every time we go we are ordering this, no matter what else we also get.

All in all another very good meal at Biwa. For me the saltiness in each of the dishes really added up, but that's something I think can be better tempered next time.

We'll be heading back to Biwa soon, this time to eat off the late night menu. Their Biwa Hamburger is supposed to be outstanding, which means I need to break my no-eating-after-9pm rule, at least this once.

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