Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy 1 Year! at Cho Cho San 07-21-2009

Location: 15 West 8th St.
Time: 7pm
People: ALev, Sassy MGru, BLee, JLam from MeSoHungry, MLev, SamShady, OSha, David, Teresa, GB, KarenO, Sa-Sha, PeeWee, Rich and myself

Feelings: Happy one year anniversary! To celebrate, we had our monthly outing at Cho Cho San with what else...$10 all you can drink sake! I read about this place on several Japanese magazines and newspapers, and I was almost certain that this would be an authentic Japanese restaurant. When I made a reservation, they were extremely accommodating, so I had high hopes.

Upon arrival, I was excited by the spaciousness, and we had two large tables reserved for us. At our monthly outing, we are used to being cramped into a small table and sharing food together, so this was a luxury and perfectly appropriate for our anniversary celebration. We had incredible service, and I was amazed that the waitstaff never once lost a smile and kept us deep in sake, water and hot tea.

Our new member, Teresa said about the service, "They were so accommodating by giving everyone separate checks and not charging us a service fee for being a large party." When I saw them giving us 15 separate checks, I was pretty pleased myself. We often spend over 20 minutes calculating the bill, so this was nice and easy. Most of us are in the media industry and did not do well too well in math, so this was well worthy anniversary gift from the Ramen God. I love Cho Cho San for this. Thank you.

However, the food was questionable. It was unfortunately what Japanese people would call "Americanized Japanese" food. Salad with ginger dressing, sushi rolls, tempura, limited numbers of noodle dishes, tempura ice cream, large portions-- all these together at one restaurant are good signs that they are American Japanese cuisine. And miso soup should never be served with a soup spoon nor should it be served BEFORE dinner. There is absolutely nothing wrong with American Japanese food as long as it's good. Although most of us were happy about their good portions, we thought the flavor was bland, greasy and a bit salty. "Veggie tempura was really greasy," Sa-Sha said. "The edamame potato salad wasn't bad, but it was kinda like mashed potatoes with edamame." MLev added, "The tempura was kind of plain."

The vegetarian members were happy with the veggie options available. This is another hint of American Japanese food. (It's REALLY hard to find vegetarian food in Japan.) Everyone seemed happy with their veggie sushi. GB mentioned, "The shiitake, avocado and ume surshi was all fresh and tasty."

OSha's Obama rolls, consisting of black caviar, salmon and mango, (yeah...obama..rolls... no comment) were presented beautifully. "Obama tasted good," He said. "Only thing was that the fish tasted a bit dry."

I was not happy at all with my zaru soba, and I stopped after three slurps. It was overcooked, and I simply cannot believe I paid $11 for soba out of package. I should have ordered veggie sushi instead.

The big selling point for this place is their $10 all you can drink sake, and for this I would recommend this place for large groups. People who had the sake somehow came back with better impressions of their food. But some of us who did not drink thought the food was mediocre. Sake makes food taste better, for sure.


Me So Hungry said...

happy birthday!

Yosh. O said...

Thanks! Happy Bday to you too.

Unknown said...

No dessert?

Yosh. O said...

we got cookies from insomnia, but it was just... big "meh"