Over the years I have been to many Japanese restaurants in Neutral Bay, including Sushi Samurai which has been rebranded to Izakaya Samurai. It is actually the sister restaurant of Izakaya Yebisu in the city. Like Yebisu, the restaurant features touch screen menus which makes ordering ultra simple. Before we had finished ordering, our first dish had already arrived. Talk about efficiency!
First up was the lotus root chips. I am not a fan of lotus root generally, but it is a different story when they are deep fried! Unfortunately these were a bit chewy and not crispy enough.
Seafood carpaccio with Japanese ume dressing. It's like a Japanese take on ceviche, the tangy soy dressing went really well with the fresh sashimi. It was something different to the regular sashimi...which we also ordered.
The main sashimi plate comprised of tuna, snapper, kingfish, salmon, prawn, salmon roe and scallops. The slices were beautifully presented and were quickly chowed down.
I love agedashi tofu so was very keen to try this variation - Agedashi Eggplant. It was delicious and the sauce was really nicely balanced. The eggplant was amazingly soft and just melted in the mouth.
Not so impressive was the beef tongue, which was a bit chewy.
One of the dangers of a touch screen menu is that it is just too easy to order. No need to find a waiter/ waitress, one touch of the screen is all it takes. The food kept on arriving...The skirt steak was tender and the ponzu dressing really lifted the flavour. The grilled kingfish was moist and flavoursome, although by this stage, I was feeling rather full. The scallop and garlic fried rice, is an example of a simple dish done really really well. I was surprised at how much flavour they managed to pack into it!
For a Japanese restaurant, the dessert menu was quite extensive. The Earl Grey Brulee caught my eye and it did not disappoint - and very reasonably priced as well! The earl grey flavour was obvious without being overpowering and I enjoyed every mouthful. The Green Tea tiramisu was also very well made, although it didn't have the wow factor of the brulee.
Izakaya Samurai is a great place for a casual Japanese meal with an extensive menu, with the added convenience of a touch screen ordering system.
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