We have been anxiously anticipating the opening of Shigezo's east side restaurant, Yataimura Maru, since they announced last October plans to open on SE Division. The new restaurant, Yataimura Maru, is inspired by izakaya alley in Tokyo with individual food "stalls" littered throughout the space, with a ramen stall, a sushi stall and a robata stall. We love everything on Shigezo's menu, and was excited to see if the new East-side Izakaya would have some new menu items.
Of all the menu items we were most interested in trying dishes off the robata side and grabbed a seat at the curved robata bar. If you sit at the robata bar your food is handed to you via a long paddle board typically seen at robata restaurants in Japan.
We quickly zero'd in on the kinpira fries. Our favorite item of the night left us thinking why hasn't anyone else thought of battering up gobo root vegetables that have been marinated in typical Japanese mixture of soy sauce and mirin - completely addictive.
Next came the grilled meats. Beef tongue, yummy chicken meatballs and another favorite of the night softboiled quail eggs wrapped in bacon (the cutest interpretation of bacon and eggs I have ever seen or eaten).
Then came the one vegetable item of the night, grilled eggplant topped with shaved bonito flakes that danced ontop of the char-smoked sliced eggplant. Really delicious.
The most anticipated dishes of the night was the housemade tamago (Japanese folded omelet). Served with a side of ketchup, the gooey insides was crazy good and gobbled up with a side of rice.
Another dish we were anxious to try was the croquettes. These snackable fried potato dumplings were stuffed with shrimp and weren't as firm and hand-holdable as the ones we had in Japan, but the macaroni salad served with it was truly memorable. We'll be trying to recreate this macaroni salad for potlucks this summer.
And last, but not least we placed an order for the yakionigiri (grilled rice triangles). Served with pickled root vegetables, these weren't as good as the ones we had at Toshi's on Mike's birthday, but were pretty good nonetheless.
Before leaving we made a quick walk through the other stations/stalls in the restaurant and peaked into the ramen stall. Those noodles, I dream of those noodles!
Yataimura Maru is absolutely adorable and delicious. We'll definitely be back again and again and again!