That's not good or bad, it's just different. And you know what? Different can be pretty damn awesome.
I started off with a glass of Rogue's Morimoto Soba Ale. It's a very light beer, but has a nice developing crispness to it. Solid beer, but $8/glass is a bit much for me.
Our food started with a ceviche with mahi mahi, tomato, corn, calabrian chile, cilantro and mint.
This was fantastic. I'm not normally a mahi mahi fan, but these pieces were luscious and tasty - and that sauce I could drink a glass of. See the corn? Freeze-dried, I believe, which added an interesting layer.
We also ordered an onigiri (rice ball) with grilled prawn, tomato, bacon, and soy mayo, topped with bonito (fish flakes) and nori (seaweed). Since it's rice on the outside and the restaurant was dark, the photo didn't turn out at all. This was a tasty bite, but didn't hold together well. Probably wouldn't get again.
This next dish was the star of the night: tempura shrimp with creamy spicy sauce and with wasabi mayo, plus a daikon palate cleanser.
And a closer look just at the tempura shrimps (wasabi mayo on the left, creamy spicy on the right):
We both liked the creamy spicy better, but it's really splitting hairs - both were fantastic. The daikon - something I don't normally eat raw - was nice between the two different flavors of shrimps, allowing the tongue to fully enjoy the flavors of each.
Our last dish of the night was the reason we went in the first place: Wafu ramen with pork belly and slow poach egg added. The ramen comes with corn, scallions, kamaboko (that's the pink-rimmed thing - a fish cake), and smoked schmaltz (rendered pork fat used for frying).
But again, not traditional - none of this was traditional Japanese, but quite obviously Japanese inspired. It was good, very good, and we wouldn't hesitate to return.
Besides, it's right next door to Sunshine Tavern. And a block away from Pok Pok. And just up the street from Taste Unique and Little T American Baker. Maybe we should move closer.