Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rainier Teriyaki

I was thrilled when I saw that a teriyaki joint was going in to the newly remodeled Emerald City market building across from the old (gone now) Chubby and Tubby on Rainier Ave, and that they had tofu dishes on the menu.

Not just yakisoba and stirfrys (which they do have) but also a good old tofu teriyaki bowl in the nature of chicken or beef.

I ordered a bowl (I think it was about $5.00... plus an additional $0.50 for "spicy") and it was almost everything I had hoped: a bowl of sticky rice layered in char grilled vegis (carrots, broccoli, cabbage), then a pile of lightly fried tofu covered in a not-too-sweet sauce.
It was fresh and hot and the quantity was incredibly filling. My dining mate ate the teriyaki chicken breast and it was a beautiful thing... a big neatly stacked pile of thin white meat slices with real grill marks and sauce drizzled on top. His came with a salad and rice.

They specialize in really charbroiling the meats (and the vegis), which makes everything especially tasty.

I have since returned and made a special request that caused the cooks to laugh but that they were able to oblige: Mongolian Beef but with tofu instead. It was pretty good, but heavy on sauce and light on any kind of vegetables. The quantity was huge, and after filling up at the restaurant I brought my leftovers home and made a second huge meal by sautéing the rest of the saucy tofu with broccoli.

The inside of the restaurant is really pleasant... clean, new, fancy colored paint job and photography on the walls, nice touches like faux marble table tops instead of simple plastic, etc.

Everybody who works there seems incredibly nice, and the over all experience is a positive one for me.

My two complaints are:

1. They deep fry the tofu instead of grilling it, which is a bummer for me because I don't like the extra grease and the grill makes everything more delicious. I think that next time I go in, I will see if they could grill it instead. They seem friendly and able to adapt to requests.

2. They use a watered down mayonnaise style salad dressing on the salad that accompanies the teriyaki, as opposed to a more rice vinegary dressing. This is just a matter of my personal preference.

Over all, I think this place is great, and I am really excited to have them in the neighborhood and want to support them and help them stay in business. Worth giving them a try... you will definitely get a good value for your money, and the elusive tofu teriyaki is in existence here!

(Please see update to review here!)

Rainier Teriyaki on Urbanspoon